Get your lilies
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.