Get your lilies

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - RENOVATIONS - By Sandy Ven­ton

THE gar­den is al­most done for the year and just when you thought you were safe and have fi­nally planted all of the pot­ted plants that have been lan­guish­ing all sum­mer on your drive­way or pa­tio, along comes fall and a whole new op­por­tu­nity to re­plant, read­just, re­move and add to the gar­den.

Lily bulbs may be planted in the spring, but the very best time to plant them is in the fall. Our Zone 2b-3 grow­ing sea­son is too short for ori­en­tal lilies to ver­nal­ize (i.e. un­dergo the nec­es­sary pe­riod of rest and cold tem­per­a­tures in or­der to has­ten plant de­vel­op­ment and flow­er­ing). They may make it through one win­ter, and per­haps if you are lucky, two win­ters, but that is prob­a­bly the long­est they will live.

Like­wise, trum­pet lilies are more ten­der than the Asi­atic or martagons, but hy­bridiz­ers are fi­nally breed­ing hardier trum­pets and they too will sur­vive our win­ters. Oddly enough, al­though ori­en­tals and trum­pets by them­selves are marginally hardy, when crossed they be­come Ori­ent­pets and gain the hy­brid vigour that per­mits them to not only sur­vive, but thrive in our in­hos­pitable cli­mate.

When plant­ing lilies, there is no dis­tinc­tion be­tween the three groups noted above. They should all be planted be­tween four and six inches (10 and 15 cen­time­tres) be­low the soil level and then left strictly alone. Do not, un­der any cir­cum­stances, start work­ing the gar­den in the spring with your gar­den tools where lilies have been planted, or you may be re­warded with a hor­ri­ble pop­ping sound, which means you have just be­headed a lily. The en­tire grow­ing sea­son is wasted as the flow­ers come from the tips of the lily stem. Of course, the lilies aren’t that crazy about be­ing be­headed ei­ther. My motto is “walk around the gar­den in the spring with your hands be­hind your back.” Do not in­ves­ti­gate, touch, dig or oth­er­wise dis­turb the soil, and that goes for all peren­ni­als, not only lilies.


Easy Dance Asi­atic lily is a pol­len­less lily with

rich pur­ple ma­roon petals with yel­low tips. This nasty crit­ter is the scourge of lily grow­ers. The Red Lily Bee­tle, though, can be con­trolled through vig­i­lant mon­i­tor­ing. Eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able, hand-pick and de­stroy as soon as they ap­pear on emerg­ing lilies in the spring. Stir up the soil in spring

and fall to find their hiding places and get rid of gar­den de­bris.


Me­gan Evans, a stun­ning white martagon de­vel­oped by Dr. Ieuan Evans. Martagons are hardy and re­sis­tant to disease. Plant in fall for blooms in mid-June.

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