This year I started with the lilies by the driveway. Well, actually I started about 2 months ago when I decided which plants I wanted to replace the lilies with. This year I chose marigolds for the bees. I started them from seed. Had I used nursery starts I could have picked them up a few weeks ago. Many times I can find some great clearance buys and re-pot them to give them room to grow while I wait for the lilies to finish. I also had some (what I think is) Celosia that was growing in my carrots. They're only growing in the carrot patch and I didn't plant them. I'm guessing it was some sort of seed company accident. Either way, I let them grow out knowing I'd be moving them when the time came.
The steps I follow:
- Before I do anything else, I take a picture of the flower bed (if I haven't already) This is going to show me where my bulbs are planted after I cut the dry stalks down.
- Next I cut down the dry lily stalks. Some will come right out in your hands with no effort at all. If they don't then take sharp pruners and cut them off about an inch above the ground.
- Weed that bad boy. I tend to let things go between when the lily blooms have faded and when the stalks are dry. Now is the time to remove the weeds that have sprung up during that time.
- Decide where your plants are going in. From the picture I know my bulbs are all in the center of the bed....not close to the pole, not by the outer ring. So I place the smaller plants close to the pole and the larger ones between the lily roots.
- Water and I'm done!
Don't pull or twist the stalks to get them out. Opt for cutting them instead to keep from injuring the bulbs. Leaving an inch above the ground when you cut gives you a visual reminder of where the bulbs are so you can avoid them. These stumps will dry up and in about a week they will pop right off when you push on them.
Dig with your fingers. I wear rubber gloves not gardening gloves for this task so that I can feel if I hit a bulb. A shovel will damage a bulb or roots, fingers will not.
Pick plants that spread and tolerate cooler weather. You want them to fill up the area quickly but not die off as soon as fall hits. The fewer plants you can get away with, the better. The goal is to not harm the lily bulbs so aim to dig as little as possible.
Normally I go with 2 types of flowers that will spread so this is my first year trying something that grows straight up like the Celosia. I'll let you know how it works out! Next up is the 2 small lily beds in front of the fuel tank (in the background of the picture) then I'll do the one by the shed which also has crocus bulbs that have long since finished for the year, but I'll still need to avoid them when planting! I'm hoping to find some small mums for the one bed, I'd love to see how long they last in the fall. Wish me luck!