Thursday, October 17, 2013
London Lily was a free gift included in a mail order several years ago. If it were scented, it would be the perfect lily for us. Clear bright color combined with hardiness make this one a winner in our zone 4 garden. The original three bulbs have backed a flower planting at the end of a vegetable bed. We have been wintering over our lily bulbs in three gallon pots. The group of pots were in one location where a single tarp provided frost protection. Separating the pots and the soil mass after June first is a difficult task. Bud clusters are sometimes broken from tall stems and soil balls occasionally fall apart. We needed to find a better way.
Some of our favorite lilies are going to be planted in a circular group so that all can be covered in place with a large tall plastic trash can. Adjacent plants need to be moved so the can will not damage them. That job is on the list for next Spring.
This is what we found when the three plants were dug up. What to do with all of these bulbs was an immediate question in need of an answer. Four of the largest bulbs were planted in a circle smaller than the trash can opening. Past experience has revealed that bulb growth is not always straight up. These carefully placed bulbs may appear next Spring outside of the range that the can will cover. With luck, at least three will grow where they can be protected.
Six one gallon pots each hold three or four of the smaller bulbs. These will winter over in the central location that can be covered with a tarp. We have absolutely no idea where in the garden these lilies will be planted. This need to save every viable plant is a basic shortcoming that plagues us. If we limited ourselves to only those plants that have a spot in the garden, we might be able to get more of the needed work done. The left over small bulbs were tucked into the compost pile. That small amount of help will guarantee lily growth on the compost pile next Spring. Why?
Digging up the London Lilies turned up a viable bulb that is likely a Lily Regale. In the not so distant past when we believed that plants identified in catalogs as hardy to zone 4 needed nothing beyond planting, Lily Regale was planted in this area. Spring frost burned them year after year and we forgot that they were there. Somehow that single bulb survived our neglect and our ignorance. It now occupies a one gallon pot and it will receive proper attention next year. Go ahead and ask us where in the garden it will be planted.