July 21, 2014
Picking Lilies For My Party
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This past weekend I hosted a fancy party at Lily Pond, my home in East Hampton. I wanted the decorations to be very special and fortunately, all of the spectacular lilies have been blooming at my farm in Bedford. I asked my gardener, Ryan McCallister, to pick as many of these glorious flowers as possible and pack them up so that the lilies could be safely driven to East Hampton where they were used in arrangements for the party. Ah! If only fragrance could accompany this blog!
1 Ryan walked through the lily bed to determine which flowers still looked good after a day of heavy rain. Fortunately, he found many.
2 The lilies in the garden are a combination of trumpet, Oriental, Asiatic, and Orienpets. This Oriental variety is especially fragrant.
3 Before picking the lilies, Ryan lined the galvanized flower vases with plastic bags. These vases are quite used and he was concerned there may be small holes for the water to leak out.
4 He then packed the vases snugly in plastic bins to hold them upright during transport.
5 Cold water was added.
6 Pollen is an important part of a lily's anatomy, but it is notorious for staining flesh and fabric. Also, if the pollen gets on the flower petals, it can eat away at these delicate flower parts, leading to a shorter life for the blooms.
7 Pollen is produced on lily anthers. If you happen to get a pollen stain on clothing, do not rub! Instead, reach for a roll of tape and use the sticky side and gently dab the area. The particles will adhere to the tape.
8 To avoid any pollen issues, Ryan put on a pair of rubber gloves and gently pulled the anthers off of each flower and....
9 Discarded them.
10 He then determined where to cut the lily stem, being careful to leave enough green foliage to provide the bulb with nutrients for next year's growth.
11 The leaves were stripped from the stem. This makes arranging easier.
12 And each stripped lily was place in the water.
13 Lily height can vary considerably. This tall stem is laden with blooms which will open from bottom to top.
14 Only a few stems were place in each vase to keep from crowding. A few picked - many more to be cut.
15 Continuing on - carefully selecting stems to be cut
16 Many more lilies were picked in the Tenant House beds.
17 This garden offered twelve large rows of blossoms from which to choose.
18 An overall of the beds, which were just beginning to bloom
19 This is a full tub ready for transport.
20 This was the first of two loads brought to the flower room for more prepping.
21 The flowers were separated...
22 And ice was added to the water to keep the flowers as cool as possible.
23 The large flower heads were given more space.
24 And each tub was arranged by variety.
25 The yield was tremendous!
26 And the fragrance was so intoxicating!