Lilies From The Valley
Falmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Things you should know

Growing Tips

Future plans include Calla lilies and other bulbs along with  perennials and grasses.

Through the use of new breeding techniques it is now possible to make crosses between already
existing lily groups. Positive characteristics of each group can be linked together. 

Now, beside the Asiatic, Oriental, Longiflorum and Trumpet hybrids the following types have been bred. 

* A   =  Asiatic
* LA = Longiflorum x Asiatic hybrids 
* LO = Longiflorum x Orientals hybrids 
* OT = Oriental x Trumpet hybrids 
* OA = Oriental x Asiatic hybrids 
* O    = Oriental

These easy to grow bulbs are a perennial and will return year after year. 
Lilies produce an abundance of richly colored flowers that will bloom in early summer 
through to late fall, these bulbs will naturalize and multiply each season.

Fall is a great time for planting lilies but if you're like me, any time the soil is not frozen I dig lily bulbs! 

Lily bulbs are actually tubers composed of fleshy scales and lack a protective covering. 
Unlike true bulb flowers, they never go completely dormant and should be handled 
carefully since they lose moisture very quickly. 

Lilies in the bags can go two to three months sealed if left in a cool dark area. 
Rootlets will appear, but this is normal and no cause for concern.

 If you wish, rather than leave the bulbs in bags, you may pot up in individual 4 or 6 inch flowerpots.
Water lightly and place in cool dark spot until planting is more agreeable, or force bulbs for indoor enjoyment. 

 Essentially, you can plant your new lilies anytime before the ground freezes. 
The most natural location for lilies is on sloping ground with excellent drainage. 

Lilies do not do well in WET soil

Plant your lilies with low growing plants that can provide shade for the bulb and root system. 
Prepare the soil with large amounts of organic matter such as leaf mold or compost. Plant with the 
roots downward and the scales upward. After planting, water well two or three times before freezing. 

Lilies are most effective when planted in groups of three or more. Space them about a foot apart 
they will spread and fill this space in no time! If planting in an area with wind, staking may be required. 

Dig the bulb at least 4 inches down in zone 5, zones lower then 5 you might want to dig at least
6 inches down. Best to add blood and bone meal if you have not prepared the soil with compost.

If you have questions about planting or about your growing zone, please contact us. Lilies From the Valley

Hint & Tips

  Blood and bone meal or a bulb booster granular feed when planting does wonders for a newly planted bulb. Dogs and coyotes love the smell so do not use if you have dogs or coyotes around.

  If you have a problem with small rodents (voles, mice, shrews etc.) eating your bulbs from underneath, try laying small meshed chicken wire or hardware cloth under the bulbs, or use a wire 'basket' so that only the growing tops of the bulbs  would be left open. You can also place chicken wire just under the soil line and secure it to prevent pests digging up the bulbs.

  The lily pieces (bulb leaves) can grow into new plants given time, as will the bulbuls and seeds.

  If you save seeds remember to tag and name as seeds are never true to parent and you could have a beautiful new variety! In a few years when it flowers send a photo to me and I will pass on to appropriate society. You never know your lily could be a celebrity! Send us your photos for others to enjoy.

Next year 2008, we will be having a photo contest. 
Watch for details

Lilies make wonderful cut flowers to enjoy indoors. 

Here is a tip in case you get pollen on your clothing or household linens.  Do not brush off with your hands or moisten the cloth, because this will set the stain. Let the pollen dry, then brush it away or use sticky tape. If some stain remains, place the item in direct sunlight for a few hours. It's best to brush and wash after the pollen has dried, otherwise it will stain. 

Alternately, when you bring in your flowers you can remove stamens so pollen does not mark the flowers or accidentally rub off on your clothing or linens. 

  If flowers are needed for immediate show and you only have maturing (colored) buds,
place vase of lilies either in a warm room or add WARM not hot water to the vase.
A steamy room will also cause break bud faster.

Change the water in your cut lily vases every day, and use a floral feed if desired
A little bleach in the water will ensure bacteria does not cloud water or destroy the stemsí water access.

Contact Us 

Previous tips of the week
For a person that you want to say thank you to an example your guide leader. 
Have a basket or large flower pot with the bag of bulbs in the pot. Add a garden tool, like a bulb planter and plant stakes with the names of the bulbs already written on  them, also garden gloves. 
You can think of other items to use do so, it will make the present more personal.  You can add either raffia or burlap cloth as a stuffer under the bulbs to add support to  the items in the container. Use cellophane to wrap and tie with raffia add a card and  you have a great gift idea. Anytime of the year.
When cutting lilies always leave at least one third of the stem.
This will help the bulb restore some strength from the old stem.
If you take all the stem the bulb may not produce flowers for the following  year, but will produce green stem and leaves. This is call a blind stem. The year after that  it will be full of huge blooms since it did not produce flowers. That is why most people have numerous bulbs of the same variety. So they can have the show of flowers in the garden as well as flowers to cut. They alternately harvest each plant leaving enough of the same variety for each year to show.
When planting your lilies try planting Four O'Clock plants around the base. While your lilies are starting to break the ground the Four O'Clocks will grow faster and shade the ground a little for the bulb. There will be great colour before your lilies bloom and it will be two-tier plantings the humming birds will love you. 
Only plant one plant for every 1-3 feet. They can be a little bushy.
When you go to plant your bulbs, look at the center...If it is a closed tip bulb where the scales are fairly tight together you can  plant in the regular way. Tip up and Roots down...IF your bulb (usually this will be Asiatic varieties) has a open center...where the old stem came out and the scales are not to a point...plant those bulbs on an angle.
Why you say?
Fritalaria's  and other open bulbs should be planted on their sides so that rain water or from the hose, do not collect in the center of the bulb and rot it from the inside out.
If you have a tip you would like to send me please do so. If you wish me to credit you with the tip please state that too.
Grind washed and dried egg shells into small peices, but not a dust. Sprinkle around the base of the plants. It will give small amount of calcium to the soil/plant and any soft bodied insects like slugs will avoid the area. As the shells are jagged and will cut the soft body.
Getting ready for your buds to colour up?
Need them faster then they can naturally mature?
Try placing a clear plastic bag or film over the lilies needing a quick colour up.. The humidity and heat generated in the 'mini greenhouse' will quicken the maturity. Remember though to water well , you are putting the lily under stress so water with a dash of fertilizer would be good. Follow the instructions on the container.

I am trying SeaBoost this season. 
My lilies are doing marvelous with out fertilizer but trying to up the bloom count too.

When placing lilies or any flower in a vase , make sure  that there is NO leaves in the water. The leaves will quickly foul the water. Use either a floral perservitive or a special made one just for bulbs . Also do not place vase in an area where there is bright sun coming through the windows. They will last longer. To prevent pollen from staining surfaces, pick anters off when they are new and not full of pollen. Wear gloves or use a pair of tweezers.
If you wish to 'force your lily bulbs' for indoor growing, which can be done.
Take your lily bulbs place in a storage baggie meant for lettuce (Glad kind) place dry peat moss in bag with a gentle spritz of water. Seal bag (which does allow ventilation) and place in crisper in fridge...should be around 40 F . Just above freezing. Leave in crisper for two months, but keep checking for signs of roots or damage from too much moisture. Plant if you see signs or at the end of two months. Place in a large stand pot, remember  some lilies will be tall so they need to be deep enough in indoor pots. Mainly so they do not fall over. Place an inch layer of soil at bottom(mixed with bulb booster) -make sure there is  drainage and catcher for the excess water. Place bulbs and cover to one inch from top of pot.  Place where there is bottom heat...register etc... and place near window or under grow lamps.... then wait for them to pop up.  When you see the first sprout start to use feed like Seaboost, but follow directions for half strength feed. Then wait for them to flower.
Can be done with other bulbs too, ones you dig out of the garden or fresh ones ordered here.
Lilies make great handties for floral bouquets, the stems are strong enough to wrap with floral tape then wrap with either ribbon or special bind wire sold at florists. 
See below.
Make sure lilies are not quite open when making the placement. As they will open and it will be a tighter, nicer look to the over all hand tye. You can use Caspia,Baby's Breath or Solidago for a filler. Using any kind of rose in moderation makes the effect even better when they and the lilies open. For a green, use either Aspidistra or Cast Iron Plant leaves or if you don't have those try peace lily leaves. Which you fold back on themselves and tie with florist wire. Of course odd numbers are always better then even numbers, same with the greens around the bouquet.
You will use your creativity to make your arrangement/ bouquet and then use a spiral effect of floral wire, florist tape or ribbon. If you are adventurous try 'wrapping' or weaving the same leaves used for the greens around the 'handle' of the handhold. Cut the stems cleanly about 1 inch from the bottom of the ribbon or tape. To make a holder cut a circle from heavy poster board with a whole in the hand tye through and sit in a sturdy non tip-able vase or shallow pail until needed. Remembering not to get the ribbon wet.
Any questions please ask. 
If you have to store your bulbs, do it in a very cool place that is also frost-free.
place them either in a brown paper bag or a box of dry peat moss. And never store them with apples or other fruit. The fruit will kill the bulbs by emitting an Ethylene gas ( in higher conditions than normally needed for growth cycle of a lily bulb) that causes them to rot . A refrigerator acts in much the same way. Kept closed to retain the desired temperature, it also enables an increased concentration of ethylene to accumulate. The right amount for lily bulbs to have a 'dormant' period and get it ready for a new growing season. Any closed environment, such as a truck trailer, shipping container or warehouse, will have a similar effect. 
Now that the stems of the lilies are beginning to brown up you can now remove them. If you want to save the seed heads this is the time if they have not split open. Save dried seeds in a glass jar in the crisper unit of your fridge.
Of course label either Asiatic or Oriental . Unless you hand pollinated and bagged the flower heads all the seeds that result will be crosses of some kind. Plant them in February in peat trays and label. Plant out in a special location and see what comes up. Remember some varieties will take 3 -5 years to bloom, but it is worth the wait.
Fall is here (sniff*) winter will arrive in some areas soon. Have you put your flower beds to sleep?
If not this is the time to take all brown plant materials and debris away from the beds. Rake up and if possible burn any materials that had disease or pests. If you can not burn, check garbage ordinance on diseased or weedy debris. I do not like to burn as that would not be 'green' but in some cases it is the only way to destroy the pattern we set up by not cleaning the beds weather it is flower or vegetable. This would be the last week for fertilizing this year in most areas.  When mulching a bed (if you do) a reminder that straw, hay and leaf 'mold' might attract little critters you are forewarned. Also try and keep the mulch 'fluffy' or aerated, otherwise with no air circulation and the wetness it could rot the bulbs if you have soil leaning towards clay. The mulch will compress on its own throughout the winter but even snow is fluffy and has plenty of air mixed in, unless shoveled. In spring just rake mulch off early enough that the tips do not get harmed if poking through the soil.
We've had a mild start to the fall and I still have green growth on some late planted lilies. Of course I will leave them to die back and will clean those up in the spring if they don't die soon.
Since I don`t have the lily beetle or any viruses in my soil I can compost my yard debris. Otherwise I would be either burning it in a barrel (with permit) or placing in garbage per instructions on waste removal in my area.

So winter is coming ..what do you do now? Well this is a great time to start planning your outdoor living area for next year....Planning is key!
Map out the location, size , shape , grade and soil to name a few. A good gardening book is a must to show you what you need. I love John Brookes ``Garden Design`` or find a magazine, web site or video that shows you what you would like. Plan it within your budget. Yes make a budget . This might be your first year designing your yard or not. Be realistic in your time , energy and commitment if you are doing the work yourself especially.
Some times you will find a great landscaper in your area that will help you with your needs , even if he/she does not get the `contract``.At our garden club we had Jerry McInnis give such a talk. If you can not find one, look for either an extension officer for landscaping/hardscaping or a master gardener to give you time and pointers. Of course lilies will play a large roll in your gardens...

Now that the ground is starting to thaw and the snow is going , well it is at my back yard. You want to start cleaning any debris from the yard. Old plant materials in my area that may have disease should go into the garbage not the compost. Please check you location for yard waste  removal, as all are different across Canada.

 The ground is soft at the moment so you don't want to walk too much on the ground . If you are going to do lots of yard work now it would be good to use an aerator before the season gets too underway. If you compress the soil too much the grass will not grow well as all plants need air for their roots .

So saying that,  it is time to think of garden planning.  After you do a bit of yard clean-up take the time to really walk around the yards. Look at what you had (good if you have photos of before) and think what would look good there. There is software out there that can help you plan your yards. Or if you have a Master Gardener or extension program in your area please ask them for advice. Maybe this is the time to join a local garden club as a member you usually get a chance to get plants at a good price or at plant swaps. Most gardens have one or two grand shows of colour  a year. Plan your garden for months of pleasure with blooming times to keep colour and plants year long.
 Look at the links at the bottom of the web page as garden writer Jodi DeLong has wonderful ideas and other links for you to learn from.

Growing freesias as cut flowers

In BC most low land areas do not need mulching. Planting around foundations will keep the soil warmer to keep the bulb from freezing.Yet they prefer a 55 F to 63 F soil temp. when first planting and then like warmer day temps as the days get longer.. For certain areas of Nova Scotia the same can be said. The rest of the provinces please either mulch heavily or dig corms after they die back , let dry and store in a cool dark area.

 Note: storing for long periods(more then 49 days ) of time new corms will start to grow. May make the Freesia late in blooming when planted again or winter over in  pots in a deep pot for indoor flowers.May repot and pinch back new flower stems

 Flowering starts 110 to 120 days after planting and lasts about four weeks.The second and 3 weeks are the best I find. If planted straight into the ground and it is a little plastic greenhouse over the area planted or cloches (bells) to get the soil to the right temp.   If you want flowers for several months  you must stagger the plantings.

On arrival, always inspect the corms to be certain they are free from serious diseases or physical damage. Be prepared to plant the corms on arrival. If you have to store before planting, place them in open trays at 55F under non-ventilated conditions, but only up to three weeks.

If planting in pots or if you are making a Freesia bed with new media, the planting media must be well drained, have a pH of 6.5-7.2, be free from fluoride-containing additives, and is best if sterile. If planting in the ground instead of pots corms can be planted in either ground beds or raised ones that are at least 10 in. deep. 

 The ground bed or bench must have a mesh support system for the growing plants.  A stake system with 3 - 4 inch hardware cloth is good and sturdy. A support system is needed if in pots too.l

Average plant heights are 20 to 30 in., some varieties are taller still. The 'hooks' or branch  are usually 10 to 14 in. long. Remember though the first year will not be the best show for the plant as they had been forced the first season. They too are recycled .

Plant corms 2 in. deep at a density of 80 to 100 corms per sq. yd if you want a high yield and a good showing. The exact planting date depends on prevailing soil temperatures, which must be in the range of 55 to 60F. Late April and May would be best for spring planting and Sept to Nov. for fall planting and sometimes into Dec. if the weather and temperatures hold.

 After planting keep the planting medium moist, but not wet. They too hate wet feet.

Freesias require medium to high light intensities (2,500-5,000 f.c.). Use 50 to 55F night temperatures and avoid day temperatures over 63F, especially during the short days of winter if you have a greenhouse or room in the house with proper lighting.. To avoid excess hot soil which could hinder the growth of the plant , plant in sun dappled areas or somewhat protected but not too shady areas. Or mulch with soil cooling mulches.

Hint : do not use any superphosphates or fluoride in soil, fertilizers containing it  and donít use water that contains fluoride during forcing or after cutting the flowers. So run tap water and let sit for a few days for gases to evaporate in barrels if you have high fluoride in your water system. It may cause the buds to drop when you use large amounts of fluorides.
Flowering potted plants

Forcing freesias as flowering potted plants requires some experience.   Caution: Do not return corms to 86F! You must not store corms for more than 49 days. This can cause the corms to pupate--or form a new corm instead of a shoot.

 If panting in large amounts in beds, plant  the corms 1 in. deep. Use four to six corms per 4-in. standard depth pot, 6 to 10 in a 6 3/4-in. pot, or 10 to 15 corms in an 8-in. bulb pan. Use a well-drained, pH 6.5-7.2, fluoride-free, sterilized planting medium. After planting, keep the medium moist but not wet. For plants that require staking, special rings are available from garden suppliers. If planting only a few corms plant among other plants for self staking. The Freesia blades look like gladiolas leaves.

After the blades begin to grow, use 20-20-20 every other week or top-dress with 14-14-14 Osmocote.Both can be found in garden supply stores...I am going to experiment with  some of my Freesias with SeaBoost seaweed fertilizer. I will let you know what happens later in the year.

Marketing. Market flowering potted plants when the first floret begins to color. Although the open flowers aren't highly sensitive to ethylene, the floral buds are sensitive and can abort. . Homeowners should be advised to place plants in a cool, but well-lit area of the home in order to obtain maximum flower life. 

Now is the time to think DIG ME,
plant your lilies by the end of May and lilies should be on time to flower if Orientals if Asiatics they could be a month behind the first year..
The ground is getting dryer and easier to walk and work on.
After cleaning up debris ,marking new beds and working on them.It is time for the 'relaxing gardening swoon'
This is the fun part because us gardeners get whipped into a green and blooming frenzied we can not do with out....what ever makes us happy.
Planting a straight lily patch or mixing pleasing perennials among the bulbs. I like the three layer look.
A low growing ground perennial not ground cover as most are invasive and hard to control in a bed. Say types of small ferns.
A mid level to cover the stalks while growing, a perennial with either just pleasing or unusual foliage or early blooming before the lilies bloom. Will fill the 'empty' air or space in a lily patch.
Last is a slow growing perennial that will complement the lilies blooms and later in the season the "UGH after the blooms is gone look"  While the seed heads are forming it is helping the bulb grow for next year too! So it is important to keep the stalk even if you pinch off the seed pods. Perennials can hide the stalks of past their prime lilies in the fall. SO think what you might like to see.
 If you need some advice email me. Or call toll free 1-888-822-7204  please leave a message if I am not there. I am trying a new phone system so please be patient with me. I hope I have worked out all the 'bugs' of it.
Or go to your local garden clubs or extension offices for more information.

I am also potting up various lilies for individual sale at the 'shop' Priced right and growing well for pick  up in Late May.

A Special Tip of the Week That was Requested On the Lily Beetle 

In my area we are lucky there limited pockets of the beetle.

I personally do not have any. I do have stock agricultural photos of the beetle please email me for them.

Looks like a cross between an Asparagus beetle and potato beetle , bright scarlet red  with a tinge of orange and a fast mover.

Devoted Lily Beetle squishers know that it is tough to catch adult beetles on mature lilies because, at the slightest plant jostle, the beetle falls to the ground. When approaching mature lilies, the first step to overcome this quick escape is to place under the plant a pail containing sudsy, detergent-charged water. You quickly lean the plant over the pail so that the escaping beetles fall into sudsy water. The escape-artists drown Ė the rest get squished. Any liquid dishwashing detergent (a teaspoon per 4 liters of water) can be used for this chore.

The larvae is the one who does the damage. It carries is fecal material on its body to pretend to be  *poop* .As birds and animals do not ingest fecal matter usually. This way it eats unlimitedly on your lilies.Neem will help as will Diatomaceous earth or Rose dust. It will scratch their bodies and cause dehydration and death.

A few people tell me that Neem oil is banned...

No Neem oil is not banned

It is still sold in stores under Neem and also Leaf Shine possibly other names. It is used in the natural foods and uses market.

Also has 10 different names on agricultural market

Is used in a variety of products for human and animal use.

If you need a large quantity of Neem for Orchids (in the greenhouse) or other plants,store the Neem Oil in a cool spot, such as a refrigerator. Only use what you need. As the Neem Oil may solidify when kept cool, you will need to warm up the container of Neem Oil in a container of very warm water until the Neem Oil turns into a liquid state. If you have a large container of Neem Oil, you may wish to pour this oil into several smaller containers (and label as such) so that you have a handy amount to warm up when required that means less waste.

When mixing up a solution of the Neem Oil with your water be sure to add some soap such as Sunlight Dish Soap, as this will break down the oil in the water. If you fail to include the soap, the oil will not mix with the water and your spray application will be of little value.

A mixture of 1 oz. to 1 gallon of water should be used for spraying. I do not have lily beetles but when I use other sprays or a different container for foliage fertilizers ,I like a back pack sprayer not a trigger action spray bottle. Less wear on the old fingers LOL

A weaker solution may be used as a maintenance spray. It is impossible to give a definite schedule for spraying, however a "close eye" will help each person to adjust a timetable to maintain clean plants. You will probably not have to spray as often with Neem as with toxic insecticides.

**Always read the instruction on use of any natural or chemical 'spray' or dust.**

Note : If you have been looking for Neem and not found it I do have a supplier for it  in Nova Scotia. Please email me and I will send their phone number or email to you.

Well things are getting full swing for growing this year.
Weather has been spotty yet I find it Sunny but chilly at night.
 Good growing for most plants...
My lilies are now about 3 feet tall , some varieties will get taller. Now is the time to start to use fertilizer if you are going to show your lilies at flower shows or exhibitions.
I have found that Sea Boost works wonders for all my plants inside and out. I follow the instructions  but half strength it for use every week.
I am determined to get huge blooms and stalks...ok I already do I would just like it to be record breakers.
I have found that now I have to move my hostas as the lilies took over and you can not see the hostas for the lilies.
I will be adding to the bed size, shape  and depth... If your like me work, house work and more get in your way when trying to garden.
 When we do get into the garden we tend to 'over do it' and the next day ..ouch!
so my second tip is really a caution.
Please take your time in the garden , if really heavy work is to be done don't do it alone get a friend to lift. Stretch muscles before yard work and after, so they do not burn and scream when you over use them
 Wear sun protection and if wearing sun block , keep reapplying as perspiration will take it off. And SPF over 35 doesn't mean you can stay out all day...Drink plenty of fluids, rest often and take it easy. When every thing is done have a good relaxing bath or shower at a good temperature,put good lotion to your hands and feet ( I am partial to Mary Kay's Satin Hands) as well as treat your sun kissed or hopefully not sun burnt skin a good moisturizer. I use MK's Timewise .

Well here in Nova Scotia my asiatic lilies are blooming quite nicely despite some heavy downpours lately.
 Around Falmouth there is a few pockets of the beetle but most gardeners are not really having problems as they are doing what I have told them to do . They have kept the population down and I might see one or two in all my garden tours so far this year...I do go to quite a few!

Remember if you want to bring in cut lilies to the house for vases or flower arrangements please leave at least a 3rd of the stem behind. If Cutting for the vase the questions you should ask yourself before cutting are:
 How deep is my container/vase?

This is for making sure your container does not tip over due to bloom weight. I you use a small container and have a fair amount of stem , it will be top heavy when they open accident waiting to happen.

How many blooms are there on the stem? 

 I give one week for each bloom. That means a fresh 1/4 cut off the bottom every day for best results. Even better results when you have the proper cut flower bulb food/water cleaner in your container. That way you can cut the minimum amount of stem for less `damage`to the next years flower. Remember you need the stem to help regrow next seasons blooms. This is why I sell by the dozen. Mainly for the budding florist in the gardener. You only cut between 3 and 6 of your lilies out of 12 so the ones you didn`t cut this year are great next year when the ones you did cut are getting strong again.
Enjoy for the season and if you get any pollen on your hands, or cloth please use scotch tape . Do not wipe at it, use water or rub...if you touch with your fingers the oils in your skin will set the protein in the pollen. The tape will lift it off before any real damage can be made. If on white clothing, use the scotch tape method along with setting the `stain` in  bright strong sunlight for at least 6 hours as the heat and sunlight will break the protein down and it will dust off.

Well hope everyone is enjoying the summer hopefully it will last a long time...I can't stand the cold...
anyway while doing some research I ran a cross a few facts I did not know about the lily.
In Feng Shui they believe the lily to be of summer and abundance... Ok I like that one
Greek mythology it is tenderness I do have a soft spot for them...
Speaking of which, as you might know I also do flower arrangements
one of my favourite flowers to use it the lily. Why, because it actually lasts out of water for a few hours before the water in the stem starts to go 'dry' but with a inch re-cut and back in water they will come right back.
 It also takes a while for the bloom to open fully in an arrangement so you can handle it quite a bit . Unless you bump it a bit before the blooms open it doesn't bruise .
I will have some of my lily photos on my Facebook site as soon, it will start to fill up. 
If you have photos of your lilies that you would like to share just email them to me and I will set it up.
   Well it is that time again Fall is upon us.


 This is the time to clean  in the gardens.
Remember to pick up all yard debris and if allowable in your area burn suspected diseased plant materials.
I know it is not very green but any pests and diseases will be cut in half. If you compost them it will only spread to good soil and when you go to use the compost it will be spread further into the garden.

For lilies I personally do not cut stalks down that are not diseased. I let them continue getting brown and let them ride through out the winter that way. As it helps strengthen the bulb for next year. All the energy going back into the bulb that was expended this season on growing and trying to make seed.

I had a great 'crop' of seeds this year so in the next 3-5 years I will have some fabulous new crosses I hope. If I show them to the NALS and no one has crosses like that maybe I can take them to trials . From there who knows.

One: it helps the bulb mature and winterize. It keeps the center tight so no water or bugs get into the center to either freeze and possible rot it or to be a incubator for a new generation of bugs.

Two: any cross pollinating that has happened the seeds will mature properly and when ready, will either be wind blown to the ground or eaten but the birds.

Three: when I say winterize , I also mean the stalks will help collect snow around the base of the plants ensuring an insulating layer of snow for the winter.
On the subject of mulch...I have found from customers that if they mulch more then an inch of bark / cedar mulch they are killing their bulbs with kindness. Water collects in the mulch and keeps the bulbs wet. Of course they rot out.
 The exception is being in sandy soil only. I have not asked them about how they fair in the spring yet with the mulch on sandy soil.

Yes lilies can freeze that is ok , it just can not take a constant freeze/ thaw , freeze / thaw cycle that will surely  kill it. As the cells in the scales of the bulb are only so resilient in that cycle hot temperature extremes. Constant stress of that cycle can rupture the cells.

I find other then being 4- 6 inches deep in the ground and you are unsure if they will survive, place cut up pine or fir tree boughs loosely over the area where the bulbs are. It will insulate, help collect snow and keep the temperature to a moderate level with out big fluctuations. That is key.
 Now on to another topic....if you suspect or if you know you have lily beetle. Spray the remaining  plant stalks (if you will leave them in)  and surrounding ground up to 2 feet from the lilies, with the NEEM oil mix. Every 3 days to get most of the over wintering larvae. Since they look like 'little poops' they blend in well to the ground dirt. This will greatly help those with the problem for next year. This final blast of Neem will suffocate the little tykes.
More next week...

It should be tip of the month lately
 Between work and other schedules and health ,  things have been busy.
Slowly shipping to other provinces will halt until late February or March depending on the thaw.
Now if you have a greenhouse or other avenue to grow lilies all year around I will double pack  your shipment during the winter months.

 Now that the cold weather is here and across the country I will be shipping with cell aire packaging.
It helps insulates against temperature fluctuations .The air in the cells of this special material helps during prolonged exposure to low temperatures.Of course  the packaging will not keep the bulbs  from freezing..For instance a shipping room floor in an unheated area for more then 2 - 3  days and when they would arrive,  you would need to plant straight away without thawing to keep them viable. Or keep them in the cold environment until spring. As I said before, bulbs do freeze in the ground but it is the quick freeze and thaw cycle that does the plants in ...their cells explode with the ice crystals thawing and freezing   , hence turning the bulb to mush. With a normal thaw in the spring the bulbs are fine.

Saying this means customers in Newfoundland,the Parries and northern climes only have until roughly the 21st of Nov before the ground freezes. If you know for a fact it has happened already please let me know the regions .
In the Maritimes and some areas of BC the ground does not freeze until late Dec or not at all .A few years we did have a total freeze but in my area the snow falls first before the ground freezes solid so it is insulated. If it does freeze it is only the top 4 inches only.

Time again to think of spring and what you would like to grow in the gardens. First you have to make sure where you want to plant your lilies will be a permanent garden. I say this because the longer the lilies are undisturbed  the bigger they get.  Plan you gardens I know it sounds 'hokey'  but planning helps in the long haul. You know what the size of the beds will be (hopefully raised beds too for good drainage in the beds) I do say you can plant and forget the bulbs but it is best if before you plant you do till up the soil. To aerate and break clumps up. As all plants need air around their roots to be healthy. Bulbs need air in the soil to let water run off (drainage) so the bulbs do not rot.. This is one way of having a raised bed with out lots of soil being moved in. Don't forget to add organic matter and larger particulates to create the air pockets as well as a source of nitrogen.
Do not walk on your grass or garden beds until the water run off is dried up ,so the soil is not being compressed by your walking. Once it is safe to walk on the ground roto till once then add the 'compost'  then roto till again to mix well. You will have a fluffy bed. I have at least 160 sq feet of coconut fiber 3 inches thick tilled into all my beds. Coconut fiber lasts for up to 5 years before breaking down. It aerates , has nutrients and still holds just enough water. Whereas , peat moss will compress, hold too much water and is acid with not real nutrients.
While waiting to garden get out some graph paper and start planning your garden beds. It is simple yet it works . Make your plan but make it reasonable you can always make it bigger later.
 More later.
Boarder or no boarder?  People use rope, garden  hoses , special grass paint and a garden edger...or spade.
Many customers have asked this question... what can I mulch my lilies with..?

Through trial and error from previous customers, my boyfriend and my own yards I believe I have an answer.

First I will list what some people have tried. Remember also lilies do not like wet feet. Planted in raised beds , on hills or if lots of drainage materials in your lily  bed ,are best. 
All mulches should be at least 3 inches or weeds will sprout and may take over.

Newspaper :  Yes newspaper will work well if it is 3 inches thick and you have your lily bed not in a depression where water can collect.  It can look a site with the vegetable ink bleeding after getting wet... it rots to... hides slugs and bugs
and may prevent small bulblets from emerging
it is inexpensive, Gives  minimal nutrients to soil. Good as a grass killer if needing to make a new garden. Will rot the grass right to the soil.

Plastic: Not a good idea , holds heat and water and rodents like to live under it as well as nasty bugs.  Good for veggie garden around heat loving plants. For one season
Black plastic laid out and weighted... cut X's in where you will plant tomatoes , peppers, okra and hot condition plants. Also good for killing grass for new gardens.

Marble chips :  Nice  effect but expensive. Bugs can hide out in cracks but it is the ants that would love the nooks and crannies , it would be filled in in one season.  Heavy to dig or move and could prevent bulblets to emerge. Barely gives anything proper to the soil.  Good for scree slides (alpine or rock garden- or around certain trees and shrubs ) Good for walk ways.

Landscape cloth:   Mid price range can be tricky to cut to shape of the lily bed.
you need to weight it down  so it will not blow away...putting soil on it is just defeating the purpose. Will stop bulblets from emerging. Gives nothing to the soil.  Good for walkways  or under other mulches.

Sawdust:  Fresh sawdust is not good for any flower bed as it robs nitrogen from the soil.  It might look good but that is for one season. May kill your plants if not adding a high nitrogen fertilizer...problem is most people over dose on the nitrogen and all they get are leaves and greenery... no flowers. May burn shoots of bulblets emerging.
Not good for the average gardener . Can be pricy to buy or move .Good for xeroscaping type  plants.

Natural Bark mulches:  Might look good but again if fresh may rob nitrogen from soil.  Can be heavy to move and can be expensive to purchase. Slugs and bugs like, especially ants due to the mulch will save water and may prevent drainage.  Need to re apply every one to two years to keep in shape. Also need to add some higher nitrogen fertilizer. Easier for bulblets to emerge if ant farm not preset. Can also be a haven for small rodents , especially in winter. They might move in and chow down on the bulbs. Better for regular perennial gardens

Red Cedar mulch :  Can be pricy to buy, but looks great.... same thing as the natural bark mulch  if bark like...if the shredded variety it is much better for weed suppression... but will keep more water at the soil level and may rot out bulbs especially if in a depression.
Red dye on the cedar can cause some problems in the soil and may repel certain bugs but still to hard on the bulb. Better for regular perennial gardens

 Coconut mats: Very pricy, will hold water well and may rot out bulb again slugs and bugs like. It does well as a soil additive if shredded ( I have lots in my soil and it loosens it well- better then peat moss )  , and nutrients do leach into the soil slowly as it decomposes very slowly. Better for large trees. Bulblets will not emerge.

Peat Moss... not a good idea, expensive and when dry will blow away ,higher acid when leached out (lower ph)  may add as it will hold water but you don't want it to hold too much water or bulb will rot. Leaves may be yellow when growing as need nitrogen and phosphorus.

other then leaving the soil bare and just weeding like I usually do...
the best thing to use as a mulch I have found is ....

Pine Needles
For oriental lilies they have the best ph when they break down. Not too bad for Asiatics but perfect for the Orientals.
Three inch layer to make the mulch work properly.  Allows water to filter down and only holds enough water to keep soil cool and damp not wet ( unless in a depression)  Only a few bugs like to be under it winter though may draw some small rodents to live in.   Can be pretty  as a  mulch. Cost is small if you have or friends have  pine trees around..Takes a few years for them to break down. Will allow bulblets to emerge.

During the growing season most of the time the weather was splendid. Here in Nova Scotia, although it seemed every time I had time off there was not so good weather for outdoors work.

Today I set about starting to put the garden to rest. I am a firm believer that when you grow lilies you do not pull out the stalks even when brown and dead Until the following spring.  My reasoning
is this:  the stalk is a plug to the bulb. If you pull out the stalk when fresh or in the same year there will be an opening where water may funnel into and in ground where water may lay ,there is a possibility of freezing the bulb . Yes the bulb is ok to freeze  in a slow and natural drier way. When water is present in a bulb and it freezes the water expands and forces the scales apart letting more water in..which can lead to a bulb going mushy in the spring. The stem also is a type of band-aid  as the stem when pulled out detaches from the bulb leaving a wound.

Time heals wounds as the saying goes. 

This is also the time to give a last top dress of compost  or slow release fertilizer. Do not fertilizer after October.  Again clean other debris from the beds and here in Nova Scotia my location you may place diseased plant material in the garbage or burn . Although ,I do have quite a big compost pile. 

I did not have a huge lily beetle problem as I sprayed Neem  early in the season on the ground , I may do so after all my gardens are cleaned up.Just incase there are pupae in the soil. I also picked both adults, larvae and eggs from any plants not just lilies I found them on.

I hope everyone had a mostly pest free season.

I still have a few lilies trying to bloom , ones I planted late. I have my NS azalea blooming again and lavender...which is very strange

Well it's been a wild winter , extreme cold, high winds and so much more.

Today the 13th of March there is no snow in my front yard and just a bit left in the back yard . After that soaking rain  I hope we have some good long winds to dry the ground enough to start getting it ready.

 I already see snow drops, the hyacinths (both kinds) starting to tip as well as peonies, day lilies and tulips among some of the bulbs and rhizome perennial plants in my yard.

The Hellebore's are starting to turn green or purple again with their flowers and coral bells are getting strong stems again with full colour.

None of the lilies will yet make an appearance until mid April unless we have an equivalent of at least 2 weeks of good heat and sunshine in March. The bulbs that were displaced by the heaving of the frost look fat and happy. What I can see of the bulbs there is no frost damage. 

 This is the time to push them back into the soil before the ground starts to dry and they start their roots. This is also the time to clean up all the winter debris . As many of you know I do not take my stalks out of the ground until spring is here. The stalks are easy to pull out so the bulb has fattened up and healed the old stalk area. Clean and dispose of old garden waste either buy burning it or bagging and putting in the garbage like our area may do with weeds gone to seed and infected plants.

Also if you have had lily beetle in the past or it is in your area this is the time to start application of Neem oil /water/soap mix. Any pupae that maybe in the soil or debris that comes in contact with the Neem will never become an adult. It will eventually die.

You always think " things will slow down soon" well it doesn't look like anything is slowing down. If it is not things around work  and the weather slowing us down , it has to be the gardens...Trying to get the gardens cleaned up for open gardens that I will be having soon. Between work and weather I have been immensely delayed.  I haven't even got the veggie garden in either. I am edging, top dressing soil less mix on the beds, weeding big time and I mean BIG time. I swear in one week those weeds I never pulled are about ready to walk away. I have a humungous pile of compost now...guess it needs to be turned so it won't start growing.So while all this is going on and more ,I am still keeping an eye on those darn little red bugs...I am pretty lucky as there is almost no visible damage to most of the lilies. I have heard back from some customers while at NSAGC convention that was held at the Atlantica Hotel ( Oak Island inn)  and at the Windsor farmers market.  Those who have been affected by the beetle most have tried using potato dust in the squeeze tube. They appear to be having great luck with it. I am going to get the dust and try it on a friends yard since I really have no problems as yet. 
    When using potato dust as with all chemical and natural items , please read the instructions fully. Do not use in windy conditions! Please wash your hands , face and all exposed skin with hot soapy water and rinse well. It is best to wear a full overall with gloves and if possible a face shield. I know it gets warm but safe is always cool.
    I am allergic to pyrethrums which are natural insecticides found in chrysthanthamums. Why I don't used anything that has it in it including Safter's Soap. After a little research I have found out what rotenone is and will give it a trial. The customers tell me it is almost immediately effective on both the adult and larvae of the lily beetle.
 Just as a precaution I will be wearing a heavy formed  construction mask not a dollar store brand. I will let you know the results. 
    I have been thinking of using Facebook as a faster way to reach me as I am still having trouble with spam filters and email. When I have it ready will post a link on this site or however Face book lets me use it.
Well it's that time again  ...fall is around the corner. 
Boo hoo! 
Wish it could stay warm and green and plants could just keep growing...
Reality is cruel. The leaves are changing colour , plants are dying back and some things are going to sleep. 
It has been a weird year here weather wise and sometimes violent too.  Late spring  almost non existent summer.... My mighty Northern Catalpa had major damage due to Irene blowing through. Large heart shaped leaves caught the wind just right and over 20 feet of tree came down. Didn't help there were two leaders on it from a previous injury .
Last couple of days I have been weeding my little fingers off... This year the lilies were extra gorgeous.  Although right now looks pretty nasty as their stalks have turned brown early and are already popping out of the bulb. That usually doesn't happen until it's gone through a winter. So while weeding have been popping off spent stalks. I am planting more bulbs that will bloom before the winter sets in. These are ones that sprouted so I plan to have some colour in a couple of months Maybe this year I will again have lilies right up to the second week in December if the weather holds. We'll see.

Soon we will have to clean the gardens of debris  (if gone to seed or diseased) burn if you have to or dispose by the garbage. In my area I can do both if they are either weeds gone to seed or diseased or noxious plants. Please check your ordinances in your area  for disposal methods. This is also the time to figure out if the plants you have are in the right location. When moving plants at this time of the year the roots will have enough time to get them anchored and engaged for the winter heaving.
This is also the time to add fertilizer to the ground in granular feed. You do not want to feed later then Oct. as this could cause a plant to not slow down and go to a dormant stage. Hence you may loose a plant or two due to it is still in a green growth period and not a hardened off stage.

My seed heads are still not hardened off or mature yet but I let them self seed , it might take some energy from the bulbs but I like to see some new crosses. My bulbils from the tiger lilies and some Oriepets have dropped and are rooting now . As I was weeding I found over a hundred. The black ones were the tiger lilies. In a few years will have some extra plants.

I also learned a secret  which I will try next year but will attempt in a patch of ground right now  that I know some lily beetles are right now. 
A customer or mine learned this from a older fellow. Peculator coffee  ,un perked  spread on the ground in the beds of lilies...  something in the coffee (maybe caffeine) drives the lily beetles away from the area. I know that eggshells and Epsom salts do the same thing for tomatoes and pepper plants (families)  with soft bodied bugs .Maybe the drying effect of the beans and the sharp edges have something to do with it. I will let you know how it turns out.

Last but not least  I made a face book page  it is up but as I am new at this  please be patient with me. As I am very busy with various things it might be a day before I can answer a post or upload a photo. Also today  Sept 21st they made Facebook a little different so still learning where they put everything.

Well ,November most of December and the beginning of January has been relatively quiet weather wise. Quite mild, with only a few storms... Ok did a little damage but we've seen worse in Nova Scotia. 

    After all these years, I am finally going to be able to finish my 'shop'. I have found a carpenter and will be getting together soon to see the plans I have drawn up-

Good thing I took drafting at school. Nothing fancy, just a little shop. 

Think I will get some more commercial shelving as it should all match. 

Have the paint , curtains and all the rest should come together nicely.

When done will post photos on here and facebook.

While the winter winds blow and the temps are a little chilly, my bulbs are sleeping. I will start shipping to certain parts of Canada late February and the rest will be March as per usual. I am hopeful that on the 2nd of February those little furry critters will call for an early spring.

I will be working on getting some of the old favourites back if possible and some new tantalizing shades and colours as well as different bulbs and varieties.

Meanwhile, I have also been busy with the other part of my business. Floral tributes ,proms, floral bouquets and arrangements ,I also have bouquets every Friday that are available to the local customers. 

I have already booked 5 weddings for 2012 .

With careful planning I should be doing some floral judging as well. Have to ask in advance with work so I can do those wonderful shows around Nova Scotia.

I should have an on-line calendar so others can see what I am doing

( other then working a full time job) Already booked for June 8th -9th for NSAGC convention at the Old Orchard in New Minas.

Now that the Windsor Farmers Market is back to Saturdays(starting in June- until October 27th) , 9 am until 1 pm . I can not be there with my bulbs and I guess I am a big draw because I have people asking for me by name or if they canít remember Ė
the Lily Lady. 

I have to work from 7 am until 3 30pm on Saturdays , so I have a great lady looking after my floral bouquets as the lily bulbs could be un manageable especially when people ask questions. When the time comes for the farmers market this year I will see how she feels about selling the bulbs for me as well.

If not at the market with the bulbs , well the shop will be open when I am home.

Donít forget to start making plans for your gardens now. It is only a few months till you can get out and dig in the garden. Time will go by quickly!

Send me photos of your gardens I would love to see them. 

After all these years, I am finally going to be able to finish my 'shop'. I have found a carpenter and will be getting together soon to see the plans I have drawn ***update*** if the darn snow would stay away we could get on with the doors and windows.  The carpenter is just finishing up other jobs to do some work...

have new shelving clips should help with my crate capacity.

Once we are finished inside (would be nice to get some good weather so I can empty the shop out to do the work) just the paint and curtains remain. , also go there to see links to other gardening how to sites or garden answers

There has been some winter damage to some of my stock so working on getting some replacements. Have been looking into some of the old favorites and hard to get Oriepets. Our plant production manager is checking that option out. as well as possible pixie or border lilies in asiatic and oriental which do not grow higher then 1.2 to 2 feet tall.

Coming in August !!!! I have made a deal with a tulip grower to have various coloured tulips for sale. Working on the cost. Will post photos when I know what is available.

I have already booked 6 weddings for 2012 . 

Will hopefully get some judging done.

 Already booked for June 8th -9th for NSAGC convention at the Old Orchard in New Minas. 

Now that the Windsor Farmers Market is back to Saturdays(starting in June- until October 27th) , 9 am until 1 pm . I can not be there with my bulbs and I guess I am a big draw because I have people asking for me by name or if they can't remember that  they ask for the Lily Lady.

I have to work from 7 am until 3:30pm on Saturdays , so I have a great lady looking after my floral bouquets as the lily bulbs could be un manageable especially when people ask questions. When the time comes for the farmers market this year I will see how she feels about selling the bulbs for me as well.

Send me photos of your gardens I would love to see them. 

Now  March is half over. We had some crazy weather  sunny and warm, then freezing temperatures... you would think that the plants would be heaved right out of the ground. Well I am surprised because my lilies are happy campers so far -no heaving in site. Iris is popping up, azaleas are budding my primulas have flowers and my Hellebore's are getting perky. Orders are coming in daily now and I am a one woman show , working a full time job. So please understand that I am going to start shipping the bulbs as fast as I can .  If the weather appears to be getting good in your area. I will have to phone call a few customers as I have emailed then with no response and the customers IPS's must be blocking my emails.

Before planting your lilies or any  plants please remember to plan  your beds first to stop your aggravation or frustration before its started. Find a garden club or resource for gardening that is local to your area to ask questions. Never think people will think you are 'stupid' to ask questions... those who don't plan and ask questions may be discouraged in the long run

Due to my work schedule I haven't attained vacation yet and that means I have not finished my shop.
Since I am not going away this year ( that I know of now) I really hope to find that the carpenter will have time for me...
Once we are finished inside (would be nice to get some good weather so I can empty the shop out to do the work) just the paint and curtains remain. , also go there to see links to other gardening how to sites or garden answers 

There has been some winter damage to some of my stock so working on getting some replacements. Have been looking into some of the old favorites and hard to get Oriepets. Our plant production manager is checking that option out. as well as possible pixie or border lilies in asiatic and oriental which do not grow higher then 1.2 to 2 feet tall. 

Coming in August !!!! I have made a deal with a tulip grower to have various coloured tulips for sale. Working on the cost. Will post photos when I know what is available. 

I have already booked 6 weddings and held -all for 2013

 Now that the Windsor Farmers Market is back to Saturdays(starting in June- until Dec just before Christmas) , 9 am until 1 pm . 

I will have mixed flower bouquets as well as my bulbs both are $5 each... the bouquets have a special  of 4 bunches for $15 if the need hits you..

I have to work from 7 am until 3 30 pm on Saturdays , so I have a two great ladies looking after my floral bouquets and the lily bulbs. When on vacation I will be there with demonstrations on flower arranging and lilies.

Will have a power point presentation while I am there as well.

Send me photos of your gardens I would love to see them. 

Before planting your lilies or any  plants please remember to plan  your beds first to stop your aggravation or frustration before its started. Find a garden club or resource for gardening that is local to your area to ask questions. Never think people will think you are 'stupid' to ask questions... those who don't plan and ask questions may be discouraged in the long run 

Now those pesky little lily beetles may have found you , try something a bit newish... other then Neem. I use Potato dust or Rotenone  and will be trying Talc powder.  Blocks the breathing holes of the beetle with its fine powder  but the potato dust is a sure thing.

If you find you are getting browning on the tips of the buds before opening it could be sun scorch , not too much you can do to prevent this other then shade...

Yellowing of leaves means you need iron in your fertilizer - over watering can cause this too. Do not use high nitrogen fertilizers on lilies as it will cause the bulb to grow fast and become soft... usually signaling its death...

Return to Lilies from the Valley's main page

Guarantee: Upon delivery we ask you to inspect your bulbs immediately.
If any of our bulbs appear to be in unsatisfactory condition, please contact as soon as possible. Bulb  condition may be normal for that variety.  The size of lily bulbs can vary greatly depending on the types of bulbs and breeding background.
We are not responsible for any bulb loss due to circumstances beyond our control.
Should the bulbs not flower after the second year, please contact us.
Proof of purchase is required.


Webmaster John MacDonald


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