Plant The Loveliest - Little Lilies
Garden Answers|April 2017

The ‘trout lily’ might not sound like a looker, but as Val Bourne explains, these elegant woodland plants are a must for shady borders.

Erythroniums have elegant flowers with upswept petals, rather like Tiffany lamps on legs. They make excellent April additions to a woodland-style border. Enjoying fertile soil and light shade, they can rub shoulders with hardy ferns, hellebores, pulmonarias and wood anemones. However, they won’t tolerate dry shade or extreme heat – they’re all found in cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere – and they loathe drying out; erythroniums always produce larger flowers and more sumptuous foliage in a damp spring than in a dry one. The taller forms can be planted close to ponds.

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