March 31, 2013

Maine Gardener: A garden society of biblical proportions

By Tom Atwell

(Continued from page 1)

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The Easter lily of today is entirely different from the lily referred to in the Bible.

Courtesy photo

Another good source for information would be the book "Plants of the Bible and How to Grow Them" by Allan Swenson, which I read a long time ago before I began writing this column.

Swenson, who lives in Kennebunk, also wrote books on biblical herbs and flowers, but this one gives you a little bit of everything. I checked, and there are still copies available on Amazon.

HERE'S SOME ADVICE for Sunday. A lot of people get plants as gifts for Easter. The traditional one is the Easter lily. But people also give hydrangeas, azaleas, tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and calla lilies.

Just keep them lightly watered -- but not soaking wet -- until they go by. Then what do you do with them?

The hyacinths, tulips and daffodils are easy. They will live outside in Maine, so once the snow goes and the ground isn't too wet, plant them. Calla lilies are not hardy, but you can put them outside for the summer, bring them in for the winter and keep enjoying them for years.

The lilies, azaleas and hydrangeas are more difficult. Some are hardy enough to survive outside in Maine; others are not. And for these kinds of supermarket plants, the labels are no help at all.

What Nancy and I do is plant them outside. If they live, you have a nice plant. If they don't, it's OK -- you were just going to throw them away anyway.

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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