Lily show generates ‘a lot of interest’

Otago Lily Society president Louise Ardley with some of the martagon varieties of lilies blooming...
Otago Lily Society president Louise Ardley with some of the martagon varieties of lilies blooming in her garden in December. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Hundreds of gorgeous lilies bloom in the Fairfield garden of Otago Lily Society president Louise Ardley.

Ms Ardley’s flowers and spears will be among dozens displayed in the Otago Lily Society Show, to be held on Saturday, January 22 at the new venue of the St Kilda Bowling Club.

"The lily show is our major annual event as a society, so there is a lot of interest from among our members and from the other societies around the country," she said.

"Given the time of year, the majority of the blooms and spears will be the big, scented orientals, which are always popular with the public."

Some exhibitors from the Timaru and Christchurch societies are expected to make the journey down to take part in the show.

An extraordinary variety of lilies are grown all over the world, including here in Dunedin, and...
An extraordinary variety of lilies are grown all over the world, including here in Dunedin, and many will be on display in this month’s Otago Lily Society Show. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Otago Lily Society has 42 active members, who meet regularly in Green Island to discuss growing and displaying lilies.

The group also has its own Facebook page with more than 700 followers.

"We try to make it fun and relaxed — it’s nice to come together with others who enjoy lilies," Ms Ardley said.

In her own garden, Ms Ardley grows a wide variety of lilies, although her favourites are the small, delicate martagon lilies and the "big, flashy" orientals.

After more than 20 years in the society, she has an impressive collection.

"It’s quite easy to grow lilies — all you really need is well-drained soil and sun. But you do have to be patient — it can be eight to 10 years from seed to flower," Ms Ardley said.


"In damp weather, you need to watch out for fungal pests, but otherwise they are fairly straightforward.

"You get a good, long flowering season out of them too, since the different varieties flower at different times — from November to March."

Ms Ardley became interested in lilies as a teenager, attracted to the scent and beauty of the flowers, and has spent decades building up her collection.

"I grow them just for pleasure and for the display they make out in the garden.

"I don’t tend to cut them and bring them inside the house, because of hay fever," she said.


There was great interest in lilies all around the world, many countries having lily societies, and the catalogue of varieties was constantly evolving, she said.

There will be a photography competition, as well as a plant stall and garden treasures for sale, and a display by the Fuchsia Society.

 - The Otago Lily Society Show will be held at the St Kilda Bowling Club, 33 Royal Cres, on Saturday, January 22. It will be open to the public from 11.30am to 4pm.

The venue will be open for the staging of lilies from 1pm to 6pm on Friday, January 21, and on Saturday, January 22, from 7.30am to 9.30am.

Members of the public are welcome to exhibit in the show. Phone Louise on (027) 4182-369 or Margaret on (020) 4001-7356 for more information.

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