Moving More Mountains of Oxbloods

A few days ago, I started working on the massive bed of bulbs under the old Live Oak tree. I lovingly call this area the “bulb propagation garden”. It sounds much more poetic than “holding tank”, “no man’s land”, “dump and run” or (my personal favorite) “complete and utter disastrous mass of bulbs”. Whatever the official name, this garden is an overwhelming amount of Heirloom Bulbs that need to be relocated. This part of the garden contains mostly Spider Lilies, Paperwhites, Iris and thousands upon thousands of Oxblood Lilies. Each time I have a bulb hunt or a rescue dig, I plant the bulbs immediately into the ground to avoid unwanted shock. experience very little shock.. Over the last 5 years, the bulbs have multiplied with a vigor known only to rabbits, and have taken over the entire area.

Now would be a really good time to come out for a visit and get some lilies…..I have more than enough to share.

I started digging up the Oxbloods and moving them to line the pathways. Most old clumps contain about 50-75 bulbs. I will need to come back through next year and separate the clumps, but that’s for another dig.

I’ve discovered that the soil is extremely poor, thanks to the chickens. There are no worms in sight…..but I am working on that. In each new hole, I’ve added old Live oak leaf mulch to mix in with the unbelievably poor sandy soil. I’m fortunate that bulbs love sandy soils.. I’m quite sure there was an old house or something where I am digging. Every few holes, I find old bits of china or glass which is so cool!! When all is said and done, this area will be an herb garden.

If you’ve never relocated flower bulbs that are still in their growing season, it is extremely easy to accomplish. Simply dig deep enough to not mess with the bulbs or the roots, and lift entire clump out. I usually have the new hole dug, so all I have to do is place the clump into the hole. Be sure to water the bulbs really well. I try to wait until after their bloom cycle, but sometimes that can’t be helped. There are some bulbs, like Sternbergia, which are known for being completely over-dramatic when being moved. You won’t kill the bulbs by moving them, but they will display immediate yellow foliage to show you they disapprove of your choice. Moving dormant bulbs, on the other hand, is like taking candy from a baby. Simply dig and move. No issues at all.

Today I hope to move a few more Spider Lilies away from the nightly deer buffet and perhaps some Oxalis. I also will be soaking some spring bulbs that were a gift. It is a bit late to plant, but the bulbs will be fine….probably no flower this year though. Things are really coming along, and I am truly enjoying this season of heirloom bulbs.

Happy Gardening, my friends!