I’m aware that these particular tiger lilies—aka ditch lilies because they often grow roadside—are considered common and invasive by professional gardeners.But to me, ditch lilies represent carefree summer childhood. And though during the rest of the year, except for October, I’m not a big fan of orange—I can’t begin to tell you how exquisite these tiger lilies look next to blue hydrangeas. Yes, they may be old-fashioned. But then again, so am I. At least when it comes to the garden.
Yet it’s hard to find these exact species in garden catalogs—because so many “experts” turn up their noses at the lily’s ditchwater roots. The lilies grow wild along the ditchbanks of many country roads throughout the United States.
It’s always bittersweet for me after a visit to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to return home. But one summer day, Mr. Billy and my husband dug up a patch of wild ditch lilies for me to take home. And now every summer when they bloom, I can imagine that once again I’m there on the Shore with dear friends and a hint of sea air on the breeze.
I like ditch flowers—which probably says a lot about my plebian tastes. When I think of autumn I think of another flower I love for which Honey develops a fondness per Sawyer’s ever-so-romantic gestures in Coast Guard Sweetheart—brown-eyed Susans.
Here’s to beautiful flowers—like the wonderful people also—who grace our lives.
Pests and plant diseases can overwinter in the soil. Be proactive and nurture an environment that will produce an optimum spring growing climate. Clean up Time
1. Cut back perennials—eliminating dead and spent foliage a few inches above the ground in the fall actually prevents disease from surviving on dead plant tissue. Think how much healthier and able to grow your hair is after a trim.
2. Remove annuals. Pull up annuals and the summer vegetable garden, roots and all. Feed them to the compost pile.
3. Rake leaf debris and weed garden.
4. Do not add compromised plant debris to the compost pile, but destroy infected leaves. Pathogens will overwinter in composts that doesn’t get hot enough. Dream Time—The Fun Part
1. Document with photos and diagram what plants are growing in particular locations. This is especially helpful for Southern gardeners who find their memories fading with either age or information overload. And prevents an overzealous gardener come spring from planting over and injuring dormant perennials. Also a great way to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work.
2. Winterize container gardening. Bring containers indoor or to protected area like a garage or basement. Don’t add fertilizer. Keep water to a minimum. You don’t want to encourage growth during the dormant season.
3. Test the soil to ascertain pH level and nutrient analysis.
4. Enrich the quality of the soil as needed with compost, blood meal, bone meal, etc . . . This addition to the garden in the fall will allow the compounds to break down into a plant usable form come spring.
5. Add a layer of mulch as a protective layer over the garden’s root system. Design Time—Autumn is the best time to plant certain trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials.
Plan for color in the winter months with pansies, Lenten roses, camellias and daphnes.