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Summer Color with the Lily: 2018’s Summer Bulb of the Year

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When it comes to enjoying life outdoors, there’s nothing that I enjoy more than gardening. If I had the time, I’d work on our garden and landscape all the time – and while that’s not possible, I do try to spend as much time out there as I can, and I love to involve our girls – The Rock Daughters™ – wherever possible. Adding color to the landscape is a fun thing to do, especially when you work with perennials and bulbs that will return year after year. Not only will you have some cool colors that bloom throughout each year, but it can be a savings in cost and labor as well. For summer, lilies are some of the best bulbs around, and that’s why the folks at Bulb.com have named the lily 2018’s “Summer Bulb of the Year.” The girls and I just planted 25 of them…

Planting Summer Bulbs

As summer approaches, you’ll want to be planting as soon as possible. We received a bulb-planting package from our friends at Garden Media Group back in April, but the extended cold and snow here in northern Illinois (which went well into April) held us back on planting until May. With the heat and humidity kicking in, our lilies are already sprouting and looking nice and healthy. If you want season-long color in your garden, here’s the breakdown on when the various varieties of lilies will bloom:

  • Early June: Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), 2 – 3 weeks in bloom
  • Mid-June: Asian lilies, 2-3 weeks in full bloom
  • Late June: Trumpet lilies, 2 – 4 weeks in bloom
  • Early August: Oriental lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom
  • Mid-August: Nepalese lilies, 2-3 weeks in bloom
  • September: Speciosum hybrid lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom

Summer Bulb Planting

Once you’ve decided on your varieties, choose a nice spot for your lilies where they’ll get lots of sun. Then follow these four simple steps that Bulb.com have provided for planting:

  1. Dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. It’s better to plant lily bulbs too deep rather than too shallow since planting them deep keeps them nice and cool and also encourages the development of sturdy stems.
  2. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole and place the lily bulbs in the hole. Keep a distance of 6 inches between all the bulbs so that the plants will receive enough sunlight later.
  3. Cover the hole containing the lily bulbs with soil.
  4. Give the lily bulbs some water right away. This will ensure that their roots start growing more quickly.

Using a fertilizer specially-formulated for bulbs will also aid in growing a healthy crop. For this project we used Espoma’s Bulb-Tone 3-5-3. Each bulb received 1.5 heaping teaspoons of fertilizer right in the planting hole before covering with dirt. This is made of bone meal and other natural organics, so if you’re concerned about chemicals in the garden, there’s nothing to fear with this one.

Finley with her Lily Bulb

Now, if you want to see plants quicker or even want flowers that are in-bloom or close to it, your local garden center should have some pre-grown lilies in disposable pots, ready to be planted in your garden. The steps are the same, and in the fall you’ll cut them back, just as you would with the plants from bulbs that were planted from their dormant stage.

Summer Bulb Planting with The Rock Daughters

A couple of weeks in and we’re already seeing healthy growth from ours!

Growing Lilies

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