top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn R

The Case of the Missing Lilies

See that brown patch? That blotch of bare earth and unrequited mulch? That’s the lily garden.


I don’t see many lilies. In fact, I only see two lilies, nice-looking yellowish varieties, possibly ‘Lonely Lily,’ scientific name Lilium wherethefuckaretheotherliliatum. It’s a rare species.

So I went and planted all these lily bulbs that look like aardvark droppings with the foolish expectation that they will grow and fill aforementioned brown patch with glorious color. The result is this: two lonely sentinels and a morose opening in my hopes. Somewhere in that naked place, buried the recommended 8 to 10 inches beneath a layer of organic mulch, is so much potential, so much unrealized joy, and not a few dollars’ worth of bulbs. What happened to those many bulbs, I have no idea. One might suspect some kind of user error. There’s a slight chance I didn’t plant them pointy end up, like they say to do, but pointy end down. But really, with a hunk of protoplasm that resembles aardvark poo, proper pointiness is a matter of conjecture.
Tell me these don't look like aardvark turds. [gardenofeaden]

Personally, I’m convinced the bulbs were defective. Or, like entitled offspring who believe they’re due significant benefits, these bulbs foolishly expected proper soil pH and the right combination of nutrients and perhaps water. When none of the above was adequately appropriated, they petulantly decided to die. The good news here is that my fundamental philosophy of plant propagation and garden design is intact: Ho hum and may the strong survive.

Meanwhile, I’ll replant. I swear I’ll adjust soil pH this time. I’ll measure that planting depth with a transit. I’ll poll the neighbors about which bulb end is the pointy end. I’ll give the little lily turdettes the high-potassium diet they crave. I’ll even water, I swear.

Gauntlets—do you plant them pointy end up, or down?

Or I could plant something else altogether. Dandelions and vetch have demonstrated a clear willingness to grow anywhere in our yard, and I don’t have to lift a finger to have them propagate. But no, it’s going to be lilies. That open brown patch is a challenge, and I will respond. Meanwhile, I have some lovely river rocks that will look just dandy in that opening, and I can plant those with complete disregard for their pointy ends.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


  • Instagram Social Icon
bottom of page