Visit the Web site of the North American Lily Society for detailed information on planting, winter and spring care, fertilizing, staking, watering, mulching, disease prevention, fall cleanup, transplanting, and propagating. You'll also find out how to hybridize and grow lilies from seed, as well as how to find local lily-growing groups. Another good Web site for learning about lilies is that of The Lily Garden, one of the premier lily growers and hybridizers in the country .
Favorite or New Plant
Native to the coastal plain from Maine to Louisiana, summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), naturally grows in moist, acidic conditions under canopies of bottomland tree species. Fortunately for gardeners, summersweet has proven to be quite adaptable in the garden, tolerating sunnier, drier conditions. What is especially fortuitous is that summersweet bears 4-inch spikes of small white to pink, extremely fragrant flowers in midsummer on shrubs with glossy, deep green foliage. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and, in autumn, the foliage turns golden yellow. Browsing deer ignore it.
The naturally occurring species grows 8 to 10 feet tall and spreads by sucker growth; plants are hardy to Zone 4. A number of cultivars have become available over the past twenty years, and Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, has just completed an evaluation. Of the dwarf cultivars, 'Tom's Compact', was considered the best. After eight years, the plants grew to 3-1/2 feet tall and wide, and they were dense, sturdy, uniform, non-suckering, and showed no winter dieback.