The Oxford Magazine 7: 209 (Dec. 1771)
DESCRIPTION of the LILY of DAMASCUS
(With a Copper-Plate Engraving of that curious and beautiful Flower.)
THE Lily of Damascus is a most beautiful flower, and may easily be cultivated in this country. It is a species of a large genus of plants, whose characters are these: The flower is a sort of bell-fashioned shape, but is composed of six leaves, which are more or less expanded and bent back. The pistil stands in the center of the flower, and finally becomes an oblong and trigonal fruit, which is divided into three cells, and contains a number of marginated seeds, arranged in a double order one on another. To this it is to be added, that the root is of a bulbous form, and is composed of a number of fleshy scales affixed to an axis.
All sorts of lilies and martagons are propagated by sowing their seeds; and, if the seeds are carefully saved from good flowers, the martagons very frequently afford very beautiful varieties.
The manner of sowing them is this: Some square boxes should be provided ot about six inches deep, with holes bored in the bottoms to let out die wet; these must be filled with fresh light sandy earth, and the feeds must be sown on them pretty thick in the beginning of August, soon after they are ripe, and covered over about half an inch deep, with light sifted earth of the same kind. They should be then placed where they may have the morning sun; and, if the weather proves, dry, they must be watered at times, and the weeds carefully picked out. In the month of October, the boxes are to be removed to a place where they may have as much sun as possible, and be secured from the north and north-east winds. In spring the young plants will appear, and the boxes are then to be removed into their former situation; they should be watered at times during the summer, and in August the smallest roots are to be emptied out of these boxes, and strewed over a bed of light earth, and covered with about half an inch depth of light earth sifted over them; they must here be watered and shaded at times, and defended from the severity of the winter, by a light covering of straw, or pease-haulm, in the hardest weather. In February the surface of the bed should be cleared, and a little light earth sifted over it. When the leaves are decayed, the earth should be a little stirred over the roots, and in the month of September following, a little earth sifted on. In the month of September, of the following years, the roots must be transplanted to the places where they are to remain, and set at eight inches distance, the roots being placed four inches below the surface; this should be done in moist weather. They will now require the same care as in the preceding winters; and, the second after they are transplanted, the strongest roots will begin to flower. The fine ones should then be removed at the proper season into flower-beds, and planted at great distances from one another, that they may flower strong.
Copied from The Compleat Florist (1747)