Lilies, anyone?

235 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Rick, here (at my summerhouse) it is only Lilum bulbiferum which is in flower. L bulbiferum is a very old garden plant in Norway and my plants selfsow here. Yesterday I had to pick several lily beetle larvae though :-\

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

RickR, I modify my heavy soil by tilling it as deep as possible, then piling about 1.5 inches of coarse sand on top and tilling it in.  Some decayed bark or other organic matter is also helpful, but the sand is permanent; it does not decompose.  So now you've got sandy loam topsoil.  Gardening in sandy loam is a pleasure; I don't know why people put up with clay.  Also, nearly everything will grow on a raised bed of sandy loam soil.  If you search my posts, you will find that phrase "raised bed of sandy loam soil" repeated ad nauseum.  Also, sandy loam is very conducive to seed germination.  In a way, this is bad, because nearly everything I grow soon becomes "invasive".  

If your soil is acid, apply lime regularly.  This also improves soil structure.  If used in moderation, it is not toxic to acid-loving plants.  All plants need some Calcium and Magnesium.

A raised bed of sandy loam will get quite warm in Summer.  If you are growing lilies, I strongly recommend using bark mulch and companion plants to keep the soil cool.  Otherwise you run the risk of bulb rot.

Here is a photo of a big soil improvement project, with my garden assistant Mr. Kubota providing invaluable assistance (and keeping me out of intensive care):

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

The lily species are very happy this year, even though the weather here has been even colder and wetter than normal.  Shown in order of bloom:

Lilium maritimum:
[attachthumb = 1]

Lilium bulbiferum croceum:
[attachthumb = 2]

Lilium hansoni:
[attachthumb = 3]

Lilium columbianum:
[attachthumb = 4]

Lilium grayi:
[attachthumb = 5]

Lilium martagon album:
[attachthumb = 6]

Lilium lijiangense:
[attachthumb = 7]

Lilium amabile:
[attachthumb = 8]

Lilium tsingtauense:
[attachthumb = 9]

Lilium kelloggi white form:
[attachthumb = 10]

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

A few more species lilies (not in order of bloom):

Lilium candidum:
[attachthumb = 1]

Lilium leichtlinii v. maximowiczii:
[attachthumb = 2]

Lilium kelloggi:
[attachthumb = 3]

Lilium pyreniacum:
[attachthumb = 4]

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A fantastic collection, and obviously well grown.  (Just look at the number of buds on that hansonii!) 

Wow, that Lilium bulbiferum croceum is a particularly nice form with its defined color zoning.  Do you get true seed, or is that the only clone you have?

Your Lilium lijiangense is a heavily speckled form, and shorter pedicels than mine, too. Again, enviable traits.  I have seen forms with almost no speckles: nice, but rather boring, in my opinion.

Lilium grayi, another to-die-for-species, I never tire of seeing.  Someday...

I have L. pyrenaicum coming from seed.  Knowing that it is a delayed hypogeal germinating seed, it still took an extra year just to germinate, and is growing rather slowly in my estimation.  I hope it doesn't take nine years to bloom like it did with Darm!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

The bulbiferum croceum was grown from seed exchange seeds.  I have several seedlings, so hopefully I'll get some seed.  I'm hand-pollinating.  I've also tried cross-pollinating bulbiferum and bulbiferum croceum.  I don't know yet if that will work.

I hope the L. grayi  sets seed, but the stamens are black, and I don't see loose pollen.  I don't know if this is normal.  Maybe the moths will pollinate them for me.

L. pyreniacum took five years to bloom from seed.  So far, two stems out of five have bloomed.

I believe many native lily populations are losing vigor due to inbreeding.  This may be why some species that used to be easy to grow (like chalcedonicum) are now very difficult.  One of the things that gardeners can do is to grow plants from several populations, and cross-pollinate them.  This is what happened back when natural populations were much bigger and closer together.

Note that I am using tomato cages to support lilies with long, weak stems, like lijiangense.  It keeps them from getting in the way, and getting accidentally broken off.  Not pretty, but I don't have time to individually stake plants.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Tony Willis
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-01

First of mine in flower on our return from holiday

Lilium martagon ssp cattaniae

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

So many super lilies - a delight to see.

Gene, when you advise adding some lime to more acid soils, at what rate would you apply that, and how often  ? Every year, every other year?

P.S Gene will be introducing the lilies of North West America to IRG readers very soon  8)

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

About liming acid soil:  there is the "correct" answer:  do a soil test, and get a recommendation for application rate based on that.  Unfortunately, this rate will vary for each type of plant being grown.

And there is the "pragmatic" answer:  I know that my soil is very acid, because the local soil conservation guy told me.  So I apply a handful of lime on every square foot of soil surface.  If this improves plant growth, I continue applying lime each year, but at a lower rate, maybe a half handful per square foot.  This is because lime is fairly persistent in the soil; it leaches out slowly, assuming that your soil has some clay in it.

The problem with the pragmatic approach is that my soil may require THREE handfuls of lime per square foot to reach optimum pH.  But my experience growing vegetables is that one handful is a whole lot better than no lime at all.  I refuse to pay $30 for the soil test, when the soil conservation folks know what the characteristics are anyway.  For example, it is well known that the soils in this area have plenty of Phosphorus.  So the lawn fertilizer companies are making fertilizer with no P, just N and K.  And this makes sense anyway, since P is very immobile in the soil, and tends not to leach out, whereas N and K are very mobile, and leach quickly.

So every Spring, I sprinkle a little lime (preferably dolomitic), a little fertilizer, and sometimes a little Micromax trace element mix on my garden soil, without knowing whether I am applying too much or too little.  My plants are very happy, so I am not going to change my method.  If my plants don't look so good, then maybe I will pay for the soil test.  If the plants are too vigorous, then I cut back on the fertilizer, or maybe skip a year of fertilization.  

Once every couple of years, I will apply roughly one handful of lime for every few square feet around my acid-loving plants, including rhodies, blueberries, natives, etc.  I can't prove that this is helping, but it certainly isn't hurting.  But remember that my native soil is extremely acid.  Every green plant on Earth needs some Calcium and Magnesium, the two active elements in dolomitic lime.
http://www.ccaontario.com/FCKEditor/File/Calcium%20Nutrition%20in%20Plan...
http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/support/library/ff/Mg_Basics.htm

If you have any doubts, or if your plants are sickly, pay for the soil test.  If you are a commercial grower with large acreage, you should definitely pay for the soil test.  What if your soil has been under cultivation for many years, and no longer resembles the native soil in your area?  At the very least, you should buy some pH paper and test the soil acidity.  Or buy a cheap soil testing kit.  Or go ahead and get a professional soil test done.  The problem with cultivated areas is that the soil will vary greatly from one part of the yard to another.  So there is no neat and tidy answer.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Gene, you are showing some really beautiful lilies! I particularly liked grayi and kelloggi!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Pages

Log in or register to post comments