Monday, October 10, 2011

Sod Lily House

Our fascination with lilies has been tempered with failure after failure.  Despite catalog descriptions of plants hardy to zone 3, most of our newly purchased bulbs would die.  The problem was not mid winter sub zero temperatures but spring frosts.  Early frost would blacken newly emerged green shoots while late frost would kill the flower buds.  Covering the plants when frost threatened was possible only if the cover would fit between other plants.  Otherwise the choice was to protect the lilies while smashing their neighbors.  Then the issue was the sheer number of required covering cans.  There had to be a better way.

This is version two of a system to protect the lilies.  Three gallon plastic pots were purchased to hold single transplanted lily bulbs.  Buried up to their rims, these pots will winter over in a protected spot.  Shaded from low winter sun, this area should be late in building spring soil warmth.  That should delay emergence of the lilies for a few days.  If the snow cover is scant, we can shovel extra snow on top of the lilies.  When spring does come, the entire lily bed can be covered with a tarp if frost threatens. As a last line of defense, the pots can be pulled from the ground and carried to the basement.

We had a first version of this system last year.  The new sod walls on three sides are intended to make it easier to place the tarp.  These walls need to be higher in order to cover the taller lilies in late May but that can wait until spring.  For now we must get ready to plant the garlic by week's end.  Then we can finish  bedding the lilies down for the winter.

1 comment:

Q said...

It is time to plant the garlic here too. I think your sod lily house will work great. We had a spring come too early in 2005. All my plants were in bud or flower...we were 6 weeks ahead of regular bloom time when 10 nights of 20 degrees hit! I lost over 400 plants...old friends died that spring....there was nothing I could very sad.
I enjoyed catching up on your posts.
I too love Indian Summer. I am waiting for our 1st frost. Hope it is late I am enjoying our October gardens so very much. We had dinner out of the garden tonight.