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Alberta Bred Lily Collection

As with all the collections within the Botanic Gardens and Constructed Wetlands, the Alberta Bred Lily Collection offers an invaluable resource to all gardeners - beginners, advanced, lily collectors and those looking to add their first lily to their gardens.  Seeing these plants in a garden setting, in bloom, carefully labelled with their names, enables gardeners to take photos and make wish lists. Each summer the College collaborates with the Alberta Regional Lily Society to carry out research on Alberta bred lilies. Their support and leadership in this area is invaluable.

Alberta is a great place to grow lilies, as is proven by the number of Alberta-based lily breeders, and the numerous lilies they have produced.

The Valley K Lily Ranch has information on Canadian lily breeders, including those from Alberta.  Historically Alberta lily hybridizers have lived and hybridized from about Red Deer/Rocky Mountain House north to the Edmonton Region. Read the Hybridizing Lilies in Alberta article written by Terry Willoughby, Shaun Willoughby and Bill Mackay, previous published in the Edmonton Horticultural Society's Centennial Issue - A Century of Gardening in Edmonton.

One breeder of note is Fred Fellner. Born in 1931 on a farm near Vermillion, Alberta, Fred Fellner has been recognized as a breeder of some of the finest lilies in the world.  With over a hundred lilies registered, his plants are bred to exhibit drought and disease resistance, winter hardiness, high bud count, and brilliant, fade-resistant colour, all of which are important factors in growing lilies in the sometimes harsh Alberta environment. To read more about Fred Fellner see A Lifetime of Lilies (from plantlilies.ca) and Robert Simonet and the 'Rescued Lilies' by Fred Fellner (Manitoba Regional Lily Society).

Lily Resources

Article Series

In 2016, the Botanic Gardens collaborated with the ARLS on a series of articles covering the basics of growing lilies. These are intended to serve as a good foundation for information on lilies, ideal for new growers of this group of valuable garden plants. They were published in the newsletters of both the Edmonton and Calgary Horticultural Society. 

Publications

Lily Beetle

The Lily Beetle is a bright red-scarlet beetle which feeds primarily on lilies and fritillaria. They cause extensive damage to all parts of the lily plant above ground. Lily Beetle | View brochure (PDF)


Lily Basics Brochure
Tips and information for growing lilies in the prairie garden. View Brochure


Centennial Lily Bookmarks
Bookmarks can be picked up in the Land Sciences Centre.

Lily Research Plots Results

View the reports from Olds College on lily research including bud/bloom counts and average heights.

Centennial Lilies

Olds College has been working with the Alberta Regional Lily Society for a number of years, so when the suggestion came to trial a lily for the College’s 2013 centennial, it seemed like a perfect fit. The journey began in the fall of 2008 when four hybridizers, all members of the Alberta Lily Society, donated Asiatic lily seedlings that they thought had potential. See A Quest to Find the Ultimate Garden Lily. The total donation was a minimum of three bulbs each of 13 different unregistered Asiatic lily cultivars. To not lose track of this precious gift, the bulbs were planted in rows, 30 cm (12 in.) between bulbs and 1 m (3 ft) between rows.

A metal underground name tag was placed beside each bulb. For extra measure we labelled wooden stakes at the end of each row as well as a wooden stake at each bulb and put the planting plan on an computer spread sheet. For the next three years each lily would be evaluated in the hopes of finding the most stunning introduction. Choosing one lily of the 13 donated was a difficult decision. Each one had many desirable traits but all were very different. In the end we chose to name a series of four lilies.

Centennial Lilies: Tradition

College Tradition averages around 30 cm (12 in.) high and has golden yellow upright flowers with a red brushmark in the centre of each petal. This lily blooms from about mid-July to mid-August.

Centennial Lilies: Triumph

College Triumph stands 60 cm (24 in.) and is a clean upright flower the colour of an orange pumpkin. Standing a little higher (60 cm/24 in.) and blooming a little bit later than the first (late-July to the beginning of September) this lily makes a good companion to the College Tradition lily.

Centennial Lilies: Sunrise

College Sunrise has an average height of 75 cm (30 in.). This lily blooms from the end of July to the end of August in a splash of dark and light pink.

Centennial Lilies: Pride

College Pride is a very floriferous upfacing red that stands to 90 cm (35 in.) tall. It blooms from the third week in July until the middle of August.

The diversity of the lilies chosen allows a gardener to have lilies in bloom from mid July until the beginning of September in an analogous colour scheme of vivid red, soft pink, pure orange and bold yellow. The range in height allows for planting in the front, middle and back of the garden. These lilies continue to grow in our Plots where we allow them to multiply. Each fall we harvest and process a number of them for sale in our weekly Friday Greenhouse Sales. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at OCBotanicGardens@oldscollege.ca.