Bulbs will not ripen if the tops are cut very soon after flowering. For best results, do not remove the tops before late June, or until leaves turn brown. When cutting flowers cut as few leaves as possible, and do not cut the entire stem of a lily. Never lift any bulbs, if it is possible to wait, before the tops are brown and limp. If bulbs must be removed to make way for other plants, take roots, top and all - some soil also with the roots. Heel-in, not too close together, in a shady spot until the tops commence to die. Autumn-flowering bulbs also should be allowed to ripen before removal for winter storage.
Oftentimes it becomes necessary in the renovating of the flower garden to dig up bulbs during the month of September or October. This is not desirable. Wherever it is foreseen that the soil in the flower beds must be spaded over and refertilized in the fall, all bulbs should be removed in the late spring and stored in the usual manner in a cool, dry, dark place in the cellar or shed until time to plant them in the fall. If it is necessary to dig up bulbs in the fall after some root growth has started, then these bulbs should be taken up with some soil attached to the roots. They should be kept moist and replanted just as soon as practical. They should never be left to dry out because after the root growth has once started this drying out of the roots is likely to cause considerable injury to the bulbs. Only such permanent sorts as the tulips, especially the Darwins, narcissi, and the lilies will as a rule repay the trouble entailed. Hyacinths seldom can be depended upon for good bloom after the first display, in any event, and are thus hardly worth the trouble of replanting. In the eastern states and in the Middle West root growth in bulbs hardly ever starts before the latter part of September because the dry months of late summer keep the bulbs dormant until the fall rains. When replanting of bulbs is done after September 15th, a good mulch of straw manure put on to keep the frost out of the ground as long as possible is essential.
Of lilies, in the case of the foreign and the hybridized, it is practically useless, in general, to try to prolong life and to improve bloom from year to year by taking the bulbs up annually. Careful study and experimenting are necessary to determine what kinds it is best to plant. The tiger lily, the speciosum, white and pink-dotted, and the madonna lily are managed easily and the native lilies are apt to be permanent, if given their natural conditions. The one named last should be planted early in the autumn or even late in the summer, not more than two or three inches deep and in heavy or somewhat clayey soil. The bulbs of this and of the others-named here may be taken up every few years, as they increase in number, and be replanted in fresh soil. The bulbs of nearly all lilies except notably the madonna may be kept over winter packed in moss or sand and stored in a cool place where they will not freeze. Then they can be successfully planted in the spring (Consult XXXIII-F, Page 253).
Narcissi are best left undisturbed for several years. It is best to allow crocuses and early tulips to run out, unless the tulips are wanted for formal effects. All tulips, like hyacinths, yield most satisfactory bloom if they are taken up annually and replanted at the proper season. Only the larger bulbs should be planted, where uniformity of effect is desired, while the smaller ones may be planted apart by themselves to increase in size. Late tulips often do very well undisturbed for three, four, or five years.
Crocuses, squills, and narcissi may be naturalized, especially if care is taken not to cut the tops too closely or too soon after blooming. This is one of the strong arguments in favour of planting crocus bulbs in September. The tops will have then matured before spring mowing begins.
After the bulbs of any kind have been lifted, and the tops are dried, these tops should be carefully trimmed off and the bulbs stored in a dark, cool place until time for replanting.
Plant bulbs in combinations as shown under "Bulbs." Learn which are late flowering and which are early; also which varieties are tall and which are short. Choose lilies that are easy to grow and select varieties that have proved successful.