Sunday, April 15, 2012

Learning about Lilies

Today I learned about lilies!

It's a gorgeous day. The breeze says 'spring', but the thermometer in the sun says 'summer'. The birds are singing, the grass is growing faster than we can mow, and I'm sitting inside researching plants.

My new job is going well, but there's so much to learn! This morning I spent some time with a woman who was looking for new perennials for a flowerbed. She didn't know the difference between the asiatic lilies that we carried and the "daylilies" she used to have (what they were for sure, I couldn't say). I didn't know either so I figured I'd look.

Turns out daylilies (hemerocallis) aren't lilies (lilium) at all. They're a different family of plants entirely, albeit with similar blooms to the traditional lily. Daylilies are the ones with thin, spear-like leaves that grow from the plant's crown. They spread through a root mat rather than bulbs, and they bear flowers on long leafless stems called scapes.

Lilies come in a lot of different varieties, but the most commonly sold outside specialty stores are oriental and asiatic. Both have root bulbs (as do all true lilies) and spread by forming new bulbs. Asiatic lilies bloom earlier and spread faster, and they're more winter hardy. They are also brighter but with many have only one color in the blossom (although our big-box garden center has one variety with multicolored blooms). Asiatic lilies have smaller leaves and do not have a fragrance.

Oriental lilies like the popular Stargazer pictured above are more likely to have multi-colored blossoms in pastel colors, spread more slowly and bloom later in the season. They have wider leaves and are the lilies that smell - apparently whether you enjoy the scent or not is genetic! Many oriental lilies have blossoms aimed downward while asiatics' blossoms face the sky.

And then there's Easter Lilies, but they're a whole other story.

I'm going to learn a LOT this summer. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012


March was a tease. The weather was so amazingly good and warm and sunny that I planted my entire raised bed in six kinds of lettuce and salad mix. Most of it didn't come up, because the week after I planted, it got COLD. I tried covering it, and then I gave up on covering it and let the frost happen, and then it rained/sleeted/hailed one night, and I'm just going to have to go out and re-plant. Oh, well.

Serves me right for being overenthusiastic about spring.

It's here for sure, now! I think.

Oh, and I got hired at a big home improvement store. Working two jobs this month has been interesting, except for the bit where job #1 doesn't recognize my new limited availability and is still scheduling me all over the place, and changing a schedule there requires forms filled out in triplicate, signed, stamped, dated, and delivered to the Ravenous Rugblatter Beast of Traal, where they'll be eaten as dessert after somebody's grandmother.*

I got a call from a nonprofit I applied to in December. It's not the world's greatest lead, but it's a callback...

*actually it just involves asking the manager to speak to the office, which may be worse than the beast because at least you know what happens to your request when a beast eats it.