How To-Lily Bulblets
As spring marches forward, lion or lamb like, the plants growing in the Fairegarden keep the step (photo taken June 4, 2008, Lilium ‘Royal Fantasy’). We love the lilies and have a nice variety, adding more each year. This is one plant of which you can never ever have enough. Because more is always better, and these beauties can be expensive, free is fabulous. We have saved and sown seeds of the trumpet class with some success. There has been germination and planting out, but no flowers just yet. Some lilies produce bulbils that grow along the stems at the leaf axil. These can be planted like seeds to grow new lilies. Another way to propagate them is to plant the little babies that the larger bulbs produce. These are showing right now, and some are so close to the surface that the entire bulb, small as it is, is exposed. These can be plucked ever so gently and replanted wherever you want some lilies.
On the beds where lilies grow that were not mulched, these little babies are very visible, there for the gathering. This year it is the Longifolium asiatics, also called the LA hybrids that are shouting ‘Plant Me!’ at the top of their lungs as we peruse the garden on hands and knees. What is that? You don’t go around in that position in your own garden? Although a nice waterproof pad makes it more comfortable, and gloves will help protect that manicure, getting very close to the sweet earth is the best way to see what is REALLY going on in the garden.
Last year we planted some of these LA hybrid babies, Lilium ‘Royal Fantasy’ in the newly enlarged Fairelurie behind the row of Muhlenbergia capillaris by the driveway. I had forgotten all about doing that and was surprised to see what looked like lily foliage appearing in that heavily mulched bed. While we were spreading the tommie crocus (seen above the emerging lilies in the photo), again on hands and knees, we noticed the tips and studied them carefully, then went to the edge of the daylily hill bed where the initial planting of the LAs lives, shown in the opening shot of this post. There was a faint stripe on them, and a million more babies. That will be the task, and a delightful one it is, of the day, spreading more lilies in the Fairelurie.
We must be careful to not plant them where other things are growing and have not appeared yet. There are swaths of Salvias, including S. sylvestris ‘May Night’ shown, Amsonias and many other things that were stuck into this new bed last year. Some were noted in the journal, some were not and will be a surprise.
Though the title is a How To, there is really nothing to teach about it, just use a tool of some kind, spade, weeder, screwdriver, stick, finger or a dibber like I am using. I do love that dibber and use it for so many things, but the planting of small bulbs is where it excels. The T shape of the handle makes it very comfortable for aging hands that have dug one too many holes, just poke and plant. A few babies were dug to be photographed, to show what they look like. The dibber was used to gently pry the uppermost babies up and out, trying to include as many roots as possible. More will be teased out and spread after the camera is safely back in the house, we don’t want to get it dirty.
Do check out the surface soil around your own lilies and look for offspring. They will show their gratitude by living long and prospering, and flowering in the future.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Fairelurie, click here-Fairelurie-Someday.
We are still in the process of adding the names of the plants growing here as pages in our sidebar. Thanks to anyone who has viewed these. Some have photos, but most will just be lists until the time and inclination becomes available to illustrate each plant, if it ever does. The category of bulbs is a large one. It has yet to be decided whether to keep it as one page or break it into smaller bits for each species. For now, the lilies will have their own page.