Thursday, October 29, 2015

Digging Lilium Bulbs

This week I've been digging up lilium bulbs. Some will be replanted in my gardens and some will go to other people.

These are Scheherazade Oriental Trumpet lilies. They've been in the same place for a decade. These bulbs produce flowers that range from 5 feet to 7 feet high.

The group on the left are oversize and in need of division. When they are this big and this close together, they compete for nutrients and are stunted in growth. I will pry apart the three bulbs on the left and re-plant them, giving them more space.

--By Kim Peterson

Monday, May 4, 2015

Botrytis in Lilium in St. Louis

In the past week I’ve seen disease in lilies in my St. Louis garden. It may be botrytis, a fungal disease that lives in ground soil and, when weather conditions are right, it attacks lilies and other susceptible plants. Due to our long, cool spring of 2015 I believe the fungus has made an appearance in my garden.

Botrytis disease on lilies is characterized by brown spots on leaves and buds. So far, all of the lilies affected in my garden have shown the disease in their wilted tops. The top 2” – 4” flops over from diseased stem. It is smaller lilies less than 1’ high that are showing signs of this disease. All of my bigger lilies at 3’ – 4’ look healthy. So far, anyway!

Another factor that may contribute to this possible botrytis disease is lack of sunshine. I am seeing these wilted lily tops in my garden with a fair amount of shade. Lilies in other locations, those in full sun, all look completely normal and healthy.

A fungicide treatment will stop the spread of botrytis. To prevent continued infection, all leaf and stalk debris should be picked up in the fall. Lily bulbs themselves are not infected by the botrytis fungus, so it is unnecessary to throw the plant away.

Are other St. Louis residents seeing brown spots on lilies? How about wilted tops? Please comment and let me know how this cool spring is affecting your lilies.

B & D Lilies, a large grower of lilies in the Western United States, gives thorough advice about combating botrytis here:

--By Kim Peterson

Sunday, March 15, 2015

MARLS Flower Design Class a Success

On March 14, 2015 nine enthusiastic student designers made wonderful flower arrangements in a hands-on design class lead by Jean Morris at Barr Branch Library. The Mid-America Regional Lily Society sponsored the class.

The goal of this class was to show how anyone can use a few basic principles to create a harmonious and balanced flower arrangement.

Completed harmonious and balanced design

Jean Morris, who is a well-known iris expert and plant educator, taught the class. Jean’s work with the iris and daffodil societies has made her a superb teacher of simple design used in flower society shows. She enthusiastically recruits new designers for shows through her talks about design. She showed that a simple approach using "papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear" placement of plant materials produces a harmonious and balanced creation. This design principle works with a variety of flowers and plant materials. It is a great basic approach to design competitions.

Jean Morris instructing students about Line material

Before starting design work, Jean showed everyone a few simple pieces of equipment that designers should have on hand. A low container with a wide opening is always easy to work with. To hold plant materials, use needle holders, foam, or aqua holders. Be sure to buy "wet" foam made for fresh flowers! It needs to be soaked for a few minutes before placing in container. "Stickum" is an essential tool for keeping holders in place; just make sure that your container is clean and dry. All of these materials can be purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
When entering flower shows, pay attention to the show schedule. It lays out the rules for the show. Each design will be staged in a specific way, and that determines the measurements of your design. If the show provides a background of 32" high, your design may not exceed that height. Some shows stage designs on individual tables or on pedestals.

Each class in a standard flower show is made up of four entries. A designer can enter only one design in each class. The classes all have different themes and design objectives. Read the schedule carefully and follow the directives in it.
Jean talked about the classes she has planned for daffodil and iris shows this spring. All sounded challenging and fun! And fun is the point of a design show--stretching your creative brain is enjoyable!

Judges of the design competition look for several things. Here are some tips: white containers are generally not used because they detract from flowers. Plant material should be fresh and unblemished. Containers should be clean and free of debris. Containers in unusual shapes and textures add interest to the overall design.
Most importantly, judges look for a pleasing design that demonstrates balance, appropriate proportion, scale, rhythm, dominance, contrast, and unity.
After this introduction, Jean demonstrated the first step in making a design. Designers use three pieces of plant materials to create the “line.” "Papa bear" (or sky) is the tallest element in the design. The student designers in this class used myrtle. Jean showed how mother-in-law tongue from her houseplants works beautifully as another kind of line material. Next the "mamma bear" line, shorter than the first, goes in to the side of the first piece. Finally, “baby bear” is placed on the other side, shorter than the other two pieces. All of these should be placed as though they are coming out of the same center.

Linda Blake, Robbie Blake, and Dorothy Lockhard
placing line materials in their designs.

Next, place three flower stalks in a way that repeats the line. The tall flower should be the smallest. The middle flower should be a little bigger. The shortest and largest flower should be placed at the bottom of designs to show a careful balance to the design.
Several of the student designers practiced placing line materials in a variety of ways, evaluating the differences, and seeing which placement was best.
The next step is to add additional flowers, if desired. Small flowers of a different variety, and in a contrasting color or texture, add visual interest. But additional flowers may not be necessary—spare, elegant designs that show off each piece of plant material can be compelling.

Nearly completed designs

The final step is to add small greenery around the bottom of the design to hide mechanics of the foam or pin holder.
It was remarkable that each student produced a lovely, distinctive design, with all using the same kind of orange lily and myrtle! This result shows the creativity inherent in each person. We all bring unique ideas and views to the task of making a flower design.

Pat Kelley and Mary Ann Campbell
with their completed designs.

The Mid-America Regional Lily Society would like to thank Jean Morris for the great presentation on flower design. We hope that students in the class will practice their skill and will enter an upcoming daffodil, iris, or lily design competition!
Jean Morris’ complete tutorial can be found on the website of the American Iris Society at this link: 

--by Kim Peterson 

Progress at Jewel Box Lilium Planting

New Signs at Jewel Box Lilium Area

We are proud to unveil our new signs promoting Lilium, in the Lilium area at the Jewel Box. 

Signs promoting Lilium at the Jewel Box in Forest Park

Lilium Summer blooms are progressing

Our mid-tier blooms of 'Royal Sunset' an LA Lilium, and 'Conca d'Or' an Orienpet Lilium are blooming at the Jewel Box. 

Lilium Bloom has begun

Our first blooms, the Pixie Lilium, are blooming at the Jewel Box. 

A closer view of our Pixie blooms

Late Spring Progress

Lilium growth is on target and looking nice.

Alyssum is planted among the Lilium.

Fred and Jean at the Jewel Box planting site

Looking forward to the Summer Blooms!

Early Spring Progress 

Status simply put:  as planned!  
The daffodils are in striking peak bloom, blending our planting with others in the area. 

The bed itself looks great with only a few weeds starting. It has been visited recently by a deer, but the daffodils did their job, the beast just passed on. 

Our lilies are starting to show healthy growth peaking through the mulch.

Looking forward to their continued growth!