Martagon Lilies are a group of plants in the Lilium genus and fortunately for us, they are very hardy and adapt well to life in our gardens. Not as common as their Asiatic Lily cousins, the reason to grow a Martagon is evident when you see your first one. Their height alone (up to 6+') is a statement in the garden but their flowers are a sight to behold! A mature and happy plant can easily have 50 or more flowers on one stem. Blossoms are generally down-facing with reflexed petals that are fairly substantial in comparison to other lilies that have a delicate petal. Flower colours include white, pink, red, yellow and orange with many varieties heavily spotted. Martagons begin blooming in late June or early July.
Initially considered a shade plant that preferred a forest-like setting, we have now discovered that Martagons will also grow in full sun and will reward you with many more flowers than in the shade. They are slow to grow and multiply and definitely do not like to be moved so if patience is not your best quality, you might be better off planting Asiatic Lilies.
The Park's Martagon Bed is a small strip along the fence across from the Heritage Garden on your way to the Restful Garden. The bed was established in 2009 and the following year many bulbs of a new variety named St. Albert Martagon were planted. Created and donated by Dr. Ieuan Evans, these bulbs were planted so that future divisions could be sold to raise funds for the Park. The first of these plants will be available for sale at the Park in 2019.
It should be noted that Martagons are very toxic to cats. At first thought you would think this was not a great problem as outdoor cats are generally either stretched out enjoying the sun or stalking prey and do not really eat flowers. However, brushing against a plant may result in pollen landing on the cat's hair which they would naturally clean off when grooming and this ingestion of pollen is enough to cause renal failure.