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Soil Preparation


Discuss about the Lily of Valley for Meteoritics and Planetary.

The lilies have been gracing many gardens and nurseries in many parts of this world for almost three thousand years. There are a variety of lilies which have not been around for this long however they spring from genetic pools which originated when people were still nomadic hunters and gatherers (Castle, 2015). As people keep experimenting with new types of lilies, they should take pride to know that they are a part of a tradition which stretches back to almost 1000 B.C.

The Kolb experimental learning theory provides a four stage cycle that learner’s use. These stages are; concrete experience, which involves doing and having the experience firsthand, reflective observation which is reviewing and reflecting on one’s experience, abstract conceptualization where a learner makes his or her conclusion from the learning experience and lastly active experimentation that involves the learner in planning and also trying out what they have learnt from the experience. The theory is focused on the internal cognitive processes of a learner (Stout, 2015). I applied the Kolb learning styles in my reflection paper for the experiment of planting and taking care of the Lily of the valley. The following was my experience in this experiment.

My experiment in planting lilies was a very good and fruitful practice. I learned a lot from the whole experiment. Patience and care were the top values I learnt to practice during this experiment. The experiment was also challenging as at times I almost felt like giving up on the plants when they failed to respond to the treatment I gave them. However, I sort some professional advice when it got too tough, and I am happy to have not stopped whenever the urge to stop got to me. 

I had to get a location where the soil was able to drain well. Places where puddles of water lasted five to six hours after a hard rain were not ideal for my experiment. However, it was easy to get a perfectly drained piece of land for my experiment, so I had to amend the available piece of land. I added some organic material which raised the level with about two to three inches. This improved the drainage system of this land. Compost, peat moss, decomposed manure or ground bark all work well with in improving the drainage system of soil (Castle, 2015). For my piece of land I used decompose manure as it was readily available around my neighborhood. 

Planting Bulbs

Lily bulbs can be planted either in fall or early spring. I chose to plant my lily bulbs during the fall. I did this at least four weeks to the last frost date. This was important so that they could put down strong roots before the ground froze.

Lilies will grow as a single erect stems coming from the bulb. The flowers are held in clusters at the very top of the stem however, in some species they can be borne along the stem (Bier, Ackerman, Barbel, Jan, &Jan, 2013). Lilies are not normally grown because of their foliage but their flowers, therefore, they will work very well when growing in between or with other shrubs of fuller perennials. I grew my lilies with other shrubs to also prevent direct wind from weakening the stems. Lily flowers come in a multitude of colors upward, downward and outward facing flowers could be trumpet-shaped, open, or re-curved.

I planted my ixias in the full sun. I ensured, however that it was in areas that are sheltered from high winds. There were big trees around the area which served as windbreakers. Strong winds directly on young lilies have a high chance of causing stunted growth as well as weak stems which will make the lilies less beautiful. I then dug holes that were about four inches apart and made sure their tops were also four inches below the surface of the ground. I was advised to place the bulbs to slightly pointy end faced upwards.

After I had planted the bulbs, I watered my plants well. I gently soaked the soil and settled it around the bulbs. The bulbs began to grow roots in about a week and a half. There was no activity at all above the soil at this time.

Staking - Generally the oriental hybrids like trumpet hybrids together with their large and heavy blooms as well as the foot tall stems needed staking. I figured that growing Lilies with other shrubs is a great way to provide a natural framework for the lily, hiding the not-so-fabulous legs and protecting them from the strong winds.

Watering the Lilies – Lilies will benefit a lot from rains in the springs. However, my lilies benefited from me a generous gardener during the middle of their growing season. After bloom, however, this is just the new growth in spring, the lilies become very susceptible to rot and therefore, I did not overwater the plants. I never allowed the soil to overly wet for the plants to sit in.


Fertilizing – Fertilizing is very important when it comes to planting in areas that are not properly nutritional (Bier, Ackerman, Barbel, Jan, &Jan, 2013). Just the nutrients are very important for the proper functioning of the human body; plants also need nutrients so as to function properly. In my case, my lilies will bloom only when provided with enough nutrients.

I used a top dressing of well-routed decompose manure. This was very beneficial to my young lily bulbs as they were growing. I found it best to lay down my fertilizer at the time when the shoots were emerging from the ground. This gave my lilies an ample time to absorb all the extra nutrients provided as well as incorporate them so as to give the best possible flowers.

The amount of fertilizer that I put in my small garden depended on the soil type. The soil was very nutritious, and the shrubs in the garden were not as closely spaced. The shrubs would eat up some of the nutrients intended for the lilies. Therefore, I put onto the piece of land just an amount I considered enough for my lilies to bring out the best flowers. It also best to use just a little or enough fertilizer and risk less or poor blossoms rather than overdoing it

Compost manure was very beneficial in that they assist in increasing yields as well promoting the health of plants and in their development as well. Nitrogen in the fertilizer is a growth booster in all plants including lilies. The phosphorous in fertilizers is important as well as it boosts the development of seeds and roots. 

Feeding – Lilies happen to be very heavy feeders as my lilies came into flowers. I fed them with a high potassium liquid fertilizer like tomato feeds. I did this every two weeks. I also continued to feed my lilies even after flowering, this helped my bulbs grow, and it ensured a great display for the next year in case I would still want to harvest the lilies.

Trimming and Pruning – I removed the spent flowers each time after blooming at the base of my lilies. This is beneficial in that it allows the lilies to focus all their energy on the development of the bulb instead of seed development.

Mulching – I thought it was a good idea to give a light dressing of mulch on my lilies. I went for decompose manure as it provided my lilies with trace nutrients and also organic material used for their proper growth


Pest and Diseases – Lilies have the possibility of suffering from viral diseases. Such disease includes yellowing or dropping of the leaves. This can occur when one buys bulbs that are already infected and brought to one’s garden. I made sure that the bulbs I bought were not infected. Also trumpet hybrid is among the new hybrids, and they are quite resistant to diseases.

Through the growth of my lilies, I noticed some of the plants infested with aphids. These are a problem when buds are forming. It was a good thing I monitored my lilies closely and sprayed off the aphids. I used a strong jet of water especially on the few lilies I noticed to have aphids (Bier, Ackerman, Barbel, Jan, &Jan, 2013). I was careful not to break the lilies by holding the buds firmly as I sprayed them.

I was keen on pests like the lily beetles. The adult beetles look very attractive. However, the larvae are very destructive on lilies and can easily devour both flowers and leaves of my lilies. This will make a messy display and will also destroy as well weaken the bulbs and ruin the harvest for the coming year. I was happy that my lilies were not infested by lily beetles as I did not see any lily beetle in my small garden thus there were no larvae to destroy my flowers.

I cut the flowers immediately the buds had begun to open. I cut about one-third of the way from the bud down the stem (GAO, & WU, 2014). I cut out the pollen-producing stamen of the lily from the interior of each and every bloom. This was the goal of this experiment to finally harvest the flowers in the end. I was so happy to finally harvest my lilies. I put a floral preservative in my vase of water and then put the flowers I cut from my garden. The end result was beautiful.

It was very tempting to trim back the stalks of my lilies as they begun to change to a brown color. However, I left them to be as I realized later that the plants had shifted their focus to storing their energy in the bulb. This is actually a process that is best left uninterrupted as it is usually great when it comes to growing the next year’s harvest.

This plant gets its name from the spike of flowers which bloom at the ends of the plant’s stem. The flowers have a strong resemblance with a bottle brush. They are mostly grown as small trees or shrubs. This shrub was among the shrubs that were in my lily garden. My focus on the garden were the lilies. However, I observed the bottle brush grow as the lilies grew. The shrub does not need a lot of care for it to grow and bloom as long as the soils are well drained which they were as I mended the land and the temperatures were favorable as well.

Trimming and Pruning

The only care I had to put onto the bottle brush was pruning the lower branches. They served as a threat to the young lilies beneath them. The branches sheltered the lilies too much that they got very little sunlight. Thus, I had to trim the lower branches. The other trees in the garden were not much of a threat to the life of my young lilies.

On the positive side, the bottle brush shrub was somewhat beautiful after blooming. Its flowers are not the prettiest. However, it looked pretty with the crimson red flowers popping out in the green branches.

This experiment has been a great experience for me as a person. Taking care of the lily felt like taking care of an infant, the lilies depended on my hard work as they could not bloom on their own. I have learned a lot from the beginning of planting to caring for the lilies till they flowered. When I got the lily bulbs, I found them so fragile and wondered how I would care for them, but I pat my back and put myself up to the task. It is very fulfilling to see how the lilies grow day by to the day they start blooming until the flowers could be cut down (Desch, Morris, Connolly, & Boss, 2012).

When I noticed that some of my lilies were infested with aphids, I got very disappointed and discouraged knowing what these small pests are capable of. I thought most of the lilies would be destroyed and in the end harvest very few flowers or none at all. I did not give up however, I sort for expert advice and was directed to spray the infested lilies with a strong jet of water holding the buds firmly to avoid them from breaking. Reflecting the real world, there are times when obstacle will come your way just to discourage you and derail you from your objectives and goals, however one should know that these obstacles can be eliminated (Kolb, 2014). I actually think after I was able to get rid of the aphids I was more determined to see my lilies to the flowering stage.

It takes a lot of effort and energy to plant and care for lilies. Nothing is served on a silver platter. I developed a close relationship with the lily of valley because of the amount of effort and determination I put into the experiment just to see them bloom. It is important to put effort and determination into every project we place our hands on, that is the only way in which one can get positive results and achieve their set goals and objectives.

Pests and Diseases

I will apply what I have learned from this experiment in the world around me (Desch, Morris, Connolly, & Boss, 2012). I will practice patience in the projects I get involved in knowing that obstacle are always going to pop to test my ability to keep going for setting goals and objectives.

I am actually going to be attracted to new experiments, experiences, new challenges as well as carrying out new plans. There is a lot of learning that comes out of such activities just like the experiment of the plant lily of the valley.

Success in one’s experiments motivates one onto taking up other experiments and projects. After seeing my lilies bloom in this experiment, I got motivated and can never shy away from projects or experiments in the future. The challenges I faced helped in shaping how I look at the world now. I look at things from the positive angle for instance challenges are there to make people stronger and develop a better will at doing things.

In conclusion, this experiment has made a positive impact in my life and how I view the world around me. I have changed my thinking and my general perception of the activities in the world. Most of all I have learned to be patient and never to give up when faced with challenges. 


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