Japanese Mountain Lily

I was supposed to post a follow up to my journey above the tree line today; however, we are experiencing a heatwave that has made my office uninhabitable. Instead, to give myself a reprieve from this heat, I am posting a few shots of this gorgeous lily that I took in my garden just before dark yesterday evening.

Lilium auratum ‘Leichtlinii’ is a wild and very cold hardy native of Japan. I bought a small pot containing two bulbs back in early May at the Parkdale Horticultural Society sale. Apparently, this is not an easy plant to find, and I am glad that my friend David managed to talk me into spending $10 on it. At the time I had over-indulged in plant purchases and was hesitant to spend that much on another pretty flower, especially since I didn’t yet have a garden to put it in.

The original inspiration for a smaller, wilder lily came from last summer’s visit to Brian Bixley’s gardens at Lilactree Farm. There I saw two woodland lilies, one white and the other pink, that grow on tall stalks lined with the smallest lily blooms I have ever seen. My blooms are not nearly as tiny, but they are a bit smaller than the typical Asiatic lilies that are popular in this neighbourhood’s front gardens.

I kept it in a large pot for a while, before transplanting it into a semi-sunny spot in front of the shed. Thankfully, it took to being moved twice like a champ and I have been rewarded with a nice cluster of steady blooms over the last few weeks. The plant seems very happy with the sandy, well-draining soil I inherited here, and while I have amended it heavily, I think I’m going to have to add lots more humus if I hope to get the same show next year.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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9 thoughts on “Japanese Mountain Lily

  1. Wow – stunning!

    Lilies are always lovely – wild tiger lilies were one of my favorite when I was little. I just planted some pink and white tiger lilies in my own garden last fall, which are about to bloom. I also just ordered myself some purple martagon lily bulbs (expensive, but after seeing one for the first time this year, I couldn’t resist!).

  2. I love the way the dark stems contrast with the yellow and echo the spots on the flowers!
    BTW, the tiny pink and white lilies you saw at Lilactree Farm look to me like Lilium martagon. It is both lovely and quite tough. One of my favorites.

  3. I rarely like bright yellow flowers, but I always like black stems, and these are really striking and gorgeous… And the longer I live, the more I fall in love with lilies. There are so many to explore. Thanks for sharing these.

  4. So beautiful! Thanks, Megan for sharing. As Megan knows, I have a wild one that is blooming by the house that just appeared. Nature has such a splendid way of landscaping with no help from humans. Amazing!

  5. I have bought some similar lily bulbs from hollandbulbfarms.com(bought & planted them late and they haven’t bloomed yet) and americanmeadows.com, where I had really nice blooms come back every year in an orange variety of this. They also have other ‘wild lily of japan’ varieties among a lot of other lilies.

  6. These photos are simply brilliant. It’s really nice to see this level of photography from fellow gardeners. It seems like the investment paid off I’d say. You’ve gotten beautiful hi-res photos that you can now share with friends and family for years to come. I just can’t get over how beautiful that shade of yellow is…

    I enjoy your posts and hope that you share more wonderful pictures like this with us soon!

  7. Ohh I think I have this lilly…
    I received a mix of different bulbs as one of these free gifts for ordering from a catalogue. It looks a lot like the one you have here. Is there any other things to look out for on the lilly to be able to confirm if it is the same lilly.

    Also I have mine in pots currently any advice on what I should do with them over winter and what spot the would ideally love?

    Thanks very much, Pippa

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