Friday, June 20, 2008

Lilies of the Tea Garden

Quite a few years ago my mother-by-marriage gave me three lily bulbs for my garden. I'd never grown lilies before, having only enjoyed them at Easter time when I bought a planted Easter lily and then threw it away when it was done blooming and growing. From my mother-by-marriage I learned that my Easter lilies could be planted in my garden and would grow and produce beautifully there for seasons to come. I also learned that lilies gradually increase by division of the large, main bulbs and by the growth of the small bulbs along the old below-ground stem. In September she would 'divide' her lilies, thus the bulbs for me. The three little bulbs she gave me grew, producing a small cluster of flowers the first year. Each year thereafter the stalks produce more and more blossoms. This year they are heavy with buds and blossoms in their cheerful bright red color! There are more than twenty buds and blossoms this year, creating a riot of color. I enjoy these blossoms each June and think of her and how much she enjoyed her garden too.

Lilies like sunny spots that receive full sun at least half the day. Bulbs should be planted 4" to 6" deep. In places where winters are very cold, an extra layer of mulch covering them is helpful for protection. Lilies should be treated much like daffodils when it comes to cutting off the spent flowers. After the blossoms die, they can be cut off right below the base of the flower. The tall, green stems should be allowed to remain until late summer when they turn yellow or brown and then die back. This ensures that the plants energy goes towards growing large, healthy bulbs for the next growing season.

[Did you notice the lilies in my post about Quirky Garden Names? They stand nearly 4" tall this year and are the cluster of orange-red that you see near the back porch steps].

4 comments:

  1. In my part of the country, these grow wild. We called them "ditch lillies" when I was growing up because that is where we'd find them.

    Of course, now they are in gardens. We have quite a few near the fenceline but they don't flower as much as some because of all the shade. They are still pretty, though.

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  2. Whoa! Those are so vibrant!

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  3. What beautiful lilies. I have never grown them. But I can just imagine how amazing your garden is. Such a sweet MIL you have. Clarice

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  4. What beautiful gifts, the kind that keep giving. I love the color.
    Deby

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