Thursday, November 22, 2012

Late Blooming Bulb Work

I'm a bulb kinda gal. I'm a lazy gardener in that if a plant can't handle itself with maybe just a bit of watering, it better not be in my yard. So minimal care. Usually you can't get any more minimal than a bulb. Plant and enjoy.

One bulb type I have are lilies, a few, maybe about 50 to 60, Oriental-Giovanni. Several of the bulbs are 6" to 8" across. One of them used to be the size of a soccer ball but I've let it bloom and reproduce, plus I've moved it, so it's shrunk a bit.

Here's a bulb I was moving last spring:

You can't see the numbers on the ruler but you can tell that I can't wrap my hands around the bulb itself and have my fingers touch.

Here are the flowers:

The flowers are amazing. With a smaller bulb, one stalk will shoot up that has multiple flowers. It will bloom for several weeks in late summer...just when you need some beautiful blooms. With the bigger bulbs, I'll get two stalks with blooms.

I had a few of them in a huge pot and they really needed to be separated, so yesterday was separation day. I could not believe it took me about three hours to safely remove the bulbs from the pot. They were completely root bound, so I couldn't just turn the pot upside down and pull them out. Believe me, I tried. I really had no idea that bulbs could be so rooty.

Several of the bigger bulbs I had in the ground in a flower bed, but my chickens took a liking to them. They love to scratch around and in between the big bulbs. I think they ate some of the foliage too, since the plants were looking a bit bedraggled.

Now most planting instructions tell you to plant your lilies 6" to 8" deep for good sized bulbs and 4" for smaller bulbs. (They never say about gargantuan bulbs like mine.) But I've never been one to listen to instructions. Some I've buried deep but overall I tend to leave them close to the surface so that I can easily move them around. In fact, I've left half the bulb above ground. They love it both ways.

Keep in mind that this was in the South...warm weather where it would only freeze a few times during the winter. I never cut the green leaves off, though I would trim a few leaves here and there that would turn yellow or looked icky. When I moved to Missouri, I brought a couple of my bulbs and just threw them in a pot only half buried. Over last winter, I put the pot in a small greenhouse. Again, I didn't trim them or worry about them over the winter, just occasionally watered them. They did great.

Do you have bulbs? If so, what kind? Do you dig yours up during the winter? Forget about them? Please share your bulb experiences!

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