Q A friend and I have Easter lily plants that we would like to keep in containers and have bloom next year. How shall we care for the plants? E. L. B. Sweetser, Ind. A florist buys bulbs precooled to force them into bloom for Easter sale, so your bulb will not bloom naturally at that time next year. However, if you have kept the leaves green and growing for a while (before letting them turn yellow and removing the stem), it may start up again by midsummer and bloom in the fall.
It can be set in a cool basement after blooming, where it would go dormant for several months. Soil should be kept from getting bone dry. Begin watering regularly and liquid feed about once every two weeks after it starts up again.
It would benefit from repotting each year. Many folks just plant the bulbs outside and let them bloom in late summer or fall. For good growth, your lily will need a sunny spot. Home gardeners can be more sure of getting blooms if they plant the bulb indoors, but some folks tell us they get theirs to bloom in pots. However, don't be surprised if it gets tall and splindly indoors. Q Three springs ago I went to a nursery where a young man said sweet cherries and sour cherries will pollinate each other, so I bought one of each. Both trees (they are dwarfs) bloomed this spring, but I noticed that the sweet cherry blooms seemed to be gone before the sour cherry ever bloomed. I cannot see any little green fruit on the sweet tree; however, there is fruit on the sour variety. Can you explain? M. S. Frederick, Md.
Sweet and sour cherries could pollinate each other if they bloomed at the same time; however, sweet cherries normally bloom ahead of sour varieties. Sour cherries are self-fruitful, but most sweet cherries need a pollinator, hence the small cherries on your sour variety and none on the sweet. Q About two months ago we read in your column a reference to witch hazel, which was described as having fragrant yellow flowers. I thought it referred to a houseplant, but I may be mistaken as I cannot find any florist shop or greenhouse which has one. Would you please give a source?
Witch hazel is a tall shrub (Hamamelis). It is unique because its narrow red or yellow ribbon-like blossoms appear very early in spring, or in late fall or winter, often during freezing weather. All varieties are quite hardy. One source we are familiar with is Wayside Gardens, Hodges, S. C. 29695.
If you have a question about your garden, send it to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.