Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Renga renga lilies coming in to flower

Over the past few years John Horrell and some helpers have planted hundreds, even thousands, of renga renga lilies at Roland's Wood.  These quick-growing, evergreen native lilies are planted for their beauty - dainty nodding clouds of white flowers from November to January, above wide, green, hosta-like leaves - and also planted for their effectiveness in suppressing weeds, but most of all they are there to help protect the trees... How do they do this? Simply, by protecting the trees' roots.

Beech trees are very shallow rooted and this makes them vulnerable in our Northland climate - both in winter when very heavy rains on the steep slopes can wash away the soil around the roots, and in summer when drought can be a problem - our summers are longer, hotter and drier than most English summers. 

Renga renga lilies are hardy and can tolerate shade and sun.  They do have a fearsome adversary in the slugs and snails that feast on their leaves but John says we seem to be very fortunate at Roland's Wood and have not had this problem. 

We have Judith and Bruce Burling to thank for providing many of these plants - they have been propagating and donating renga renga lilies for a few years now and this has been worth a fortune to Roland's Wood. 

Here are a couple of pictures from the Wikipedia page (Creative Commons licence)

Isn't this close up of a single flower exquisite?

Renga renga lilies were cultivated by Maori as a source of food - the fleshy rhizome roots were cooked in a hangi, and the plant also had medicinal uses. Read more here TERRAIN