On the same date last year Lilium leucanthum var. centifolium flowered with one bloom for the second time since it was planted in 2014.

Today – the feast of Epiphany, the Christian celebration of the magi worshipping the Christ child in the manger – there are three spectacular flowers on its two-metre stem. This Chinese species – collected by Reginald Farrer near Siku in Kansu (now Gansu) on the Silk Road in 1914 – is named for its white flowers and hundred-leaved stem.

This particular bulb came from the late Tasmanian collector and fine plantsman Marcus Harvey of Hillview Rare Plants and its description and another image is shown in my 1952 Country Life edition of ‘Lilies of the world’.