Congratulations to the gardeners at Kilmacurragh in Co. Wicklow who have pulled off the stunning feat of getting an amazing 100 giant Himalayan lilies (Cardiocrinum giganteum) to flower all at the same time to mark the centenary of the First World War.
It's been a seven-year labour of love for the curator of the National Botanic Gardens, Seamus O'Brien and his team, who sowed these enormous, stately plants in 2007. Their magnificent first display is a fitting tribute to the two sons of the family who owned Kilmacurragh and the twelve tenants and garden staff who died in the war.
These marvellous plants may look exotic but they're quite hardy and easy to grow. You do need a little patience before they flower but the good news is you won't have to wait the full seven years it takes from seed to flower: we'll have young plants in the garden centre here in Croagh shortly, so ask our staff to reserve one for you.
Give it a sunny spot but in moist, well-drained and rich soil and allow plenty of room. The stems hit up to three metres tall, topped in July and August by masses of huge, vanilla-scented, trumpet like white flowers with purple-streaked throats - a spectacular sight, and well worth the wait.