Friday, September 3, 2010

Martagon Lily Seedling

This little martagon lily took 8 years to bloom form seed. Last year It was up in the spring and showing great promise, but wild life happened. A deer came through early one morning when it was up about 2 inches out of the ground and bit it off just above the ground. I was looking forward to it blooming. This year it started again, but it was a bigger tip poking up out of the ground. I quickly placed a tomato cage around it with a few shiny deer and bird repellent tape. It shot up nicely reaching about three and a half feet in height. The flower buds un-furled and grew turning some what white in colour. I thought for sure the flowers would be light in colour, but just before opening they became a very deep dark red almost black colour. The pollen sacks were a very bright yellow before they opened to this rusty orange colour. The center is a lighter red with hints of white near the edges and a small green yellow nectary. The stems are of a dark colour, with a deep rich green foliage in nice whorls evenly spaced on the stem.
Now with traditional methods of propagation to increase the amount of this lily will take another three to four years before there are enough to get a good idea how this one will grow in the garden. These methods include scaling and natural division. Natural division is a lot slower and will only see about 2 to as many as 5 bulbs come along in the next three or four years. With scaling it may take about four years to get about 40 to 50 bulbs that may bloom for the first time. Usually with smaller bulbs you will only get between 1 and 5 flowers. This stem had about 30 blooms this year.

Many people wonder why Martagon lilies are expensive. It all comes down to the time put into growing the seed, then selecting a healthy vigorous plant, growing in on and multiplying the stock. Often from the first seed planted to large quantities to share with many people the process can be on average 15 years. Where as with Asiatic lilies one can start seeds and see a first flower in 2 to 3 years. Then if the vigour is there one could start to share in 2 to 3 years after that. This makes the time invested a lot shorter.

Both can be very enjoyable and exciting if one has the patience to wait for that first bloom. I hope this give you an idea about how new martagon lilies come about.

Fall Bulbs

Well it is that time of year again. Digging, washing and bagging up lily bulbs has started. This part of the season is always interesting. It gives me a chance to see how the bulbs grew and sized up over the last summer.

This past season was very good for rain fall and this should help the lilies for next year. last year was very dry and it did not help the plants put on good growth for the fall. They went into last winter a bit too dry. This was evident in the height of the plants and the lack of blooms.

But as you can see in the photo, the first few bulbs drying off after washing, there is good growth to each bulb over last year. These are bulbs of a martagon hybrid just before they get bagged up. Next step is into the cooler till I have at hand a large mix of bulbs. Then they start getting boxed up and sent off to their new homes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Season

Well another season is soon drawing to an end. It has been an unusually cool and wet summer. The lilies are growing but still show signs of frost damage from last year. I believe the added stress of nearly on rain last year for most of the season did not help things much. There were not a lot of flowers blooming here on the martagon lilies, but most showed good growth. I hope the season has helped the bulbs bulk up. We start digging for the few orders we have this following week.
Next year should be a good year for seeing colour in the garden.

I will soon have new photos of some of the Asiatic Lilies brought over from the Fox Lily Ranch. It will be nice to have a fresh look at some of the Alberta bred lilies that I have not had a chance to see before this summer.

Work has also begun on a CD directory of the registered Alberta Lilies. Hope fully a good portion of it will be finished for this fall or early spring to share a first edition.

Have a great weekend.