Friday, 8 November 2013

Lily bulbs

It doesn't seem to matter how much I promise myself that I'm going to post here everyday something always happens to get in the way and so here I am a whole week after my last post!
The weather here in Caithness has been really cold this past week but the wind has been non existent and even the rain has held off - in fact we've had some very sunny days.

One job this week was one I've been putting off because I wasn't sure how my back would cope with the bending but those Lily bulbs needed uplifting for winter storage. I would have left them in the bed over winter because it's in the polytunnel but I need to sort that bed out this winter ready to include a Grape vine next year - so those bulbs had to come up.

I've done this many times before (before I realised that Lily bulbs will survive winter outside here) and though I'm not sure of the correct way to store them, here's what I do.
First I lift them, then I trim the roots, brush off the majority dirt on them and then leave them in a tray for a few days turned upside down so that any water can drain away from inside the stems.
After a few days I clean them even further with a toothbrush and leave them in the tray covered with newspaper - I used to store them in sawdust but I found newspaper works just as well.

Some of these bulbs really grew huge over this year, look at the size of this smacker

I can't believe that I actually used to dispose of the tiny bulbils that I'd find attached to the main bulbs. I used to figure they'd take too long to produce anything but I was pleasantly surprised with the results when I gave them a try so now I keep all the little uns and grow them on in separate pots for a wee while.

I've been wondering why every time I go to the polytunnel a couple of Blackbirds seem to come flying out and while I was lifting the Lily bulbs the birds returned and showed me what was luring them

I wondered where all the apples in the polytunnel had gone, there was no sign of any on the floor - mystery solved.

Talking about trees, I'm not really one for appreciating the wonders of tree bark - to me it's just tree bark but we have this tree right next to my greenhouse and today I was actually drawn to the bark. I haven't a clue what the tree is but the bark was a lovely red colour


  1. Cheeky blighters, your blackbirds! Still, at least the mystery is solved. Talking of which, your tree is Prunus serrula, judging from the red strips of bark. The young bark can be the most wonderful burnished copper red but the old bark goes a bit gnarly. I'm leaving my lily bulbs in the ground, as usual, but I should really spread them about a bit as they're getting quite clumpy; must find out best time to do this. Nice to see you back again - posting everyday would indeed be a challenge!

    1. Thank you for the tree ID Caro :)
      I leave quite a few lilys out too in the ground, I was amazed to find they would actually survive here as winters are really harsh but they seem to cope and I'll be thinning some out too soon. I'm not sure of the best time to do it but I'll do it before winter really sets in or else leave it until they start back in growth next year :)

  2. I bought some lilies last year and potted them up in the greenhouse to 'get going' . All were labeled and then something dug them all out of the pots and many bulbs just disappeared!

    1. Mice? Such a shame as Lilies really are wonderful flowers.

  3. Hi Linda, I think you are more likely to stick with your blog long term by posting once per week or even fortnightly. Lilies do indeed thrive up here in our chilly climate, I have had much more success with them these last few years, previously I wasn't planting them deep enough. Off to add your blog to my list of blogs I like, Cant understand why I didn't do this a long time ago.

  4. Hi, Linda, I am ever so glad that the lily bulbs survive the cold because I am such a slacker when it comes to digging up the dahlias and gladiolas -- I just treat them as annuals. In the spring, I dig and separate and move some (or pot up to share) when my clumps get too large. I chuckled when I saw the blackbirds eating your apples... all of our apple trees are just for the birds here! They feed on them all winter.


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