Using Your Lilies As Cut Flowers
One of the most popular uses for lilies is as cut flowers, but there are a few things to consider in order to keep your cutting garden healthy and productive:
Choice: Hybrids (particularly Asiatic hybrids and Oriental hybrids with their strong scent) make some of the best cutting flowers in a myriad of colors, but species such as Madonna lilies (L. candidum) have always been huge favorites for the cutting garden.
When to cut: Cut lilies when at least two of the blossoms in the top cluster have begun to open and other buds appear fat and tinged with color. You can also check the buds themselves for cracking – a clear sign that the inner layers of the blossom are beginning to pull apart and open.
How to cut: Cut your stems as short as possible to keep a good amount of food-producing leaves on the plant. Those leaves are channeling food back to the bulb for more blooms next year.
How to arrange: Make a fresh cut with a clean knife or clippers and and arrange in lukewarm water. Consider gently removing the large pollen coated anthers which will drop vibrant pollen grains onto tables and cloths and stain them. Doing so is easy – gently grasp the filament with your fingertips and pull off the anther. Changing the water every few days will help to dissuade bacteria from causing your flowers to fade more quickly,
However you use them, by all means use them. Lilies shouldn’t just be considered, they should be ubiquitous in every great garden.
About the Author: Marianne Willburn is a columnist, blogger and author of the new book "Big Dreams, Small Garden: Creating Something Extraordinary in Your Ordinary Space." Originally from California, she now gardens in Virginia – read more at www.smalltowngardener.com.
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