There is little which is as mesmerising as a groups of foxtail lilies in full flower. They provide a strong vertical element, amongst the emerging herbaceous perennials. Flowering in spring into early summer. Each spike laden with hundreds of flowers, opening from the bottom, upwards, with colours of white, cream, yellow, pink, apricot and orange. The latin name give a clue as to their origin and preferred conditions. From the Greek erema meaning 'desert' and ouros meaning 'tail' (referring to the flower spike). They can come from dry hills, steppe even desert, so they enjoy a dry (in summer) sunny spot to thrive. Their fleshy roots spread almost horizontally and can break easily, so careful planting around them is required. They thrive in the wild as their leaves are unpalatable to wildlife, but unfortunately they are also rather messy, so planting geraniums, nepetas or lavenders around them may help to disguise this.
The dramatic flower spikes of foxtail lilies, spearing their way up from a dry midsummer garden, are an irreststable draw for our eyes and magnet for bumblebees and honeybees, attracted to the long-lasting nectar and pollen resources.