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.