Lily Bulbs Aground…

I bought 45 Asiatic Lily bulbs several weeks ago and procrastination combined with rainy, windy days and always something else to do has delayed those scaly bulbs from finding a secure, fuzzy home. Well, today is the day! I won’t put it off any longer!

The target lily bed. Note the time at 15:42 and let’s see how long it takes to plant 45 lilies. Site faces west and will receive over six hours of afternoon sun each day.

First thing to do is read the bulb planting instructions and the distributor says to plant them eight inches deep and three to the square foot. First of all, I am not putting any self respecting flower bulb eight inches deep in water logged clay. So, my plan is 4-6 inches deep, with two inches of soil amendment over the top and then a scattering of egg rock on top of that to aid in stability and to provide a splash guard preventing heavy rains from knocking dirt onto my house siding.

The egg rock and weed fabric has to go and a heavy duty rake is necessary to move it to the left. The weed fabric I put in two summers ago is completely shredded and Bermuda grass has infiltrated over and under the fabric and has to be removed.

Tool selection is important. A trowel will not dig a hole in clay. So I found my bulb hole drill and decided not to attach it to a battery powered drill as there won’t be enough torque and power to overpower that clay. My old corded drill should overcome the torque issues. A heavy rake is needed to move the existing egg rock out of the planting area.

I am using three types of lilies bought for a decent price at Home Depot. IT took a few minutes to find my corded drill and the bulb drill bit – a necessary item in the clay.

Amazingly, the corded drill stalls as I hit 4 to 6 inches of clay and I have to pull out the drill and run it in the air to remove the sticky, wet clay from the drill bit. A second try at each hole produces a neater hole about two inches across and six inches deep. It only takes a few seconds a hole with the bulb drill.

Forty-five holes were easy although I had to “shake” the bit to get the clay off and then go back and scoop clay clods out with my hand and a garden trowel. Look closely and you will see bulbs at the bottom of each hole.

The bulbs are then placed roots down in each hole. Going back to the instructions , it says that one variety reaches 40″ high, another 36″ tall and the other lilies will be 30-36 inches in height. So taller ones in the back and shorter ones in the front. My pattern is a back row 12 inches apart and then an alternating row nine inches away,: a third row; and. then a smaller fourth row furthest from the house. A bulb fertilizer is then added – lightly – and top soil is raked into each hole. A cover of 2 inches of soil amendment is mixed with the excavated clay and spread over the top giving the required bulb depth of 6-8 inches. This is fun!

A good garden soil is then placed on top of the filled holes giving the required bulb depth.

I don’t care for dirt splashing onto my house siding so I cover the soil amendment with a scattered layer of 2 inch egg rock. The emerging lilies will have no problem pushing the rock aside and the rock will add some stability to the lily stems, act as a splash guard , and retain some moisture.

A layer of egg rock is added along with an iron picket fence for animal and child deterrence and all is done!

As a final touch, I add several links of 12 inch high wrought iron interconnecting fence sections which should keep deter dogs and act as a warning for grandkids. Finished!!! And it only took a little over an hour and a half… 45 beautiful summer lilies which should start emerging in two weeks and hopefully bloom from June to August and return every year. What more could I ask for?

OK – so I have a dream of what my new lily garden will look like in three months – maybe four.

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