Photo: Blackstem Plants
Lily of the Nile
The 'Headbourne Hybrids' were bred by Lewis Palmer, son of the Earl of Selbourne, in his garden at Headbourne Worthy near Winchester. Lewis was a generous chap who gave away many of his seedlings so these hybrids rapidly became a mainstay of refined southern English borders.
With distant origins in South Africa these lovely plants only survive in very well-drained soil. The slightest hint of waterlogging and they rot. Site them in a warm spot and prepare the ground with plenty of grit and rich compost. They are not completely drought tolerant and a fertile soil with a little moisture helps them establish.
Over time, the arching, fresh-green strap-like leaves form a glorious clump from which tall stems, bearing bright blue trumpets, emerge in mid summer. A protective mulch in winter is a very good idea.
They make wonderful specimens for tubs as they don't mind a little overcrowding but wrap the container during winter as pots can freeze solid.
Very well drained