Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Out Of Season
Our garden madness expresses itself in many ways. Planting something on New Year's Day just seemed right although a little crazy. When our lilies were transferred to pots for the winter, we had more bulbs than planting space. The left over Easter lilies, L. longiflorum, were planted in four pots and placed near the south side of the house. We planned to move these pots into the house during the winter and see if they would grow.
We had to make this up as we went along since we knew nothing about forcing bulbs. A certain amount of cold was assumed necessary before the bulbs could come back to life. This winter has been mild so we did not know if the chilling had been sufficient when the first pot was pulled from the ground and placed in the basement in early January. About two weeks in the insulated but unheated basement were allotted to give the bulbs a slow wake up. Then the pot was moved upstairs and placed in a south facing window. To date two lilies have broken the surface with new growth. A second pot is now in the basement making the transition from winter to its artificial spring.
July 9, 2011 found our overwintered lilies in bloom. Foliage growth was compact but the flowers were appropriately sized. We bought these plants from the grocery store after Easter 2009. Two mild winters allowed these zone 7 plants to survive here. A normal winter will likely end these plants but we are enjoying them for now. We will count the days between moving the pots indoors and first flower. Then next year we may be able to enjoy our own flowers at Easter.
The above photo shows one of the best tended areas of our garden. Sweet peppers and basil both receive this special treatment. Weeds are allowed to sprout and grow a little after the plants are set out. Weeding is followed by an application of ground maple leaves. Very few weeds had to be pulled when this area was prepared for its photo op.
Ed takes his wheelbarrow and coarse, half inch square mesh screen, into the woods where the red maples grow. Forrest floor litter is forced through the screen. This material makes great mulch suppressing weeds and adding to the soil for next year's garden. We hope we will have the pleasure of enjoying fragrant lily blossoms even if it takes until July.