Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Change In Plans

A common end to a day in the garden here, is a walk around looking things over.  Sometimes a plan for the next day's activity unfolds.  We are so far behind that our plans resembles ER triage. Yesterday such a plan defined itself.  This morning our walk around revealed a crisis that put planned activities on hold.  The giant lily stem biting rodent had paid us a nighttime visit.  Moving potted lilies from their winter quarters to locations in the gardens became job 1 for today.

We were lucky in that the destroyed lily is a variety that we have in abundance.  London Lily is a hardy variety that multiplies here.  Its clear bright yellow flowers bring the summer garden to life.  I would prefer that it have a fragrance so a faint scent is sometimes detected.  Likely what I smell is in reality a wish but I can never decide for sure.

Three gallon pots provide generous winter quarters for our potted lilies.  We had considered leaving some in their pots as we are way behind in caring for this year's garden.  Pandora is the varietal name of this single survivor.  Two others succumbed to a previous rodent attack so saving this beauty was our first job.

A three gallon pot may provide generous growing space for the lily bulb but handling this package is quite a task.  Inverting the pot with hands placed to support the falling dirt ball is step one.  The move to up side down must be carefully done so that the flower buds do not contact anything.  Next, Becky lifts off the pot.  If care at fall planting resulted in a firm soil ball, the entire mass is righted intact. The move from standing to kneeling next to the hole while supporting three gallons of soil and a sizable plant is a serious challenge. We no longer know for sure that our old joints and muscles are going to be equal to the task.


Carefully tamped soil is pushed into the cavity between the potted mass and the edge of the hole.  A generous dose of water helps to settle the soil around the transplant.  Mulch and a stone bearing the varietal name of the plant finish the task.  The size of the soil ball guarantees that this plant will show no transplant shock tomorrow.

Ten pots of lilies were moved into the gardens today.  Three trios and a single are now in place.  We hope to be able to provide frost protection to these plants where they now are planted next spring. Enormous plastic garbage cans have been purchased for this task.  The lilies themselves can foil our plans.  We have learned from experience that there is no direct relationship between the location of the stems this year and where they decide to emerge next year.  With luck all three will be within the diameter of the covering can.  For now, all is almost ready for the flower display that will soon follow.  Several more pots of lilies are still waiting for their move into the garden.

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