Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Another bulb catalog arrived here today describing Oriental lilies as hardy to zone 3. Hardy to zone 5 is the common description in books. I am ashamed to say that I have ordered Oriental lilies year after year from this company only to watch them die after late spring freezes. Finally we will try something different.
A trench has been dug on the north side of the sod pile. It is already in shadow. During winter the trench will be shaded from sunlight for most of the day. This ground will remain frozen longer than the open garden. Lilies planted here should emerge later than those planted in the garden. A later start will make it easier to avoid those late frosts. A tarp will cover the entire lily planting with lots of room for water bottles when frost threatens.
Lilies in the garden is our goal so the bulbs will be fall planted in pots. As June 1st approaches the lilies will be removed from their pots and placed in the garden. Early growth within the pot may make it less likely that these bulbs will go a second year. Getting flowers the first year will be such an improvement that I can live with treating the bulbs as annuals.
Beating the frost is only the first battle. Welded wire cages will be needed to protect the lily buds from the deer. Bird netting on the wire cages will keep the Orioles from tearing apart the young flowers. When it is our time to enjoy the sight and scent of lilies in flower, the cages can be temporarily set aside. Nothing will come between us and our lilies. The only remaining question is can I order from the catalog that lists these bulbs as hardy to zone 3? They do offer for sale some real beauties.