Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Self Planted Save
Heirloom lilies were planted in this section of our garden. L. speciosum album and L. speciosum rubrum were described in the catalog as hardy to zone 3. Ten bulbs were scattered in two rows along the fence end here in zone 4. The plan was to tie the tall lilies to the fence. Mother's day featured an overnight freeze and frost. At 2 inches tall the lilies were frozen brown, dead to the ground. This was my second try with these lilies. Last year our June 1st freeze and frost similarly killed these lilies. The hole in this years garden was nicely filled by self planted pink poppies, P. laciniatum. I have no plans for a third attempt with these heirloom lilies.
Sweet Surrender, a Tigrinum lily, is catalog described as hardy to zone 4. Nothing was planted adjacent to them so an inverted plastic garbage can protected from frost. Inside the can a jug of water released its heat to protect from freeze. Success was only partial as I damaged two stems when I placed the can. The damaged lilies are still alive and green but produced no flowers this year. A larger garbage can will be needed to cover this planting next year.
Last year after the holiday, I purchased three Easter lilies, L. longiflorum from the grocery store. Despite the description indicating that these lilies have no frost tolerance, all were planted in front of the house after natural die down. Only two of the lilies could be covered by a single garbage can when frost threatened. The third was protected with a pail. Somehow these lilies survived the freeze and later flowered. There are several daughter plants and secondary main stems so things look good for next year.
Easter lilies in our garden provide a connection with my youth. Mother always had an Easter lily on the mantle in observance of this special time. My job was to carefully remove the yellow anthers with tweezers before the pollen stained the pure white flower. The blossom had to be partially opened or its grip on the anther made safe removal impossible. If the blossom was fully open, a yellow stain was likely. With care and diligence, Mother had a pure white Easter lily year after year. Now the lilies in my garden have yellow stains. Surrounding growth allowed no access for this delicate task. A more open site may allow these lilies to produce a more impressive display.