My mother has been raising an ever-growing family of lilies of various colors for the past 15 years. In the previous house, they would grow to almost 6-foot tall while in the new house (which gets a lot more sun), they stay around 3'-4'. She is sure that the stunted growth is due to their not needing to “reach” for the sun, so she is not concerned about that. She was a little worried for a while about them going into shock from being transplanted, but then they grew, so they have survived fairly well for quite a few years now.
What she is worried about is the fact that there are deer near the new place. Last summer, she was horrified one morning to find that a lot of her lilies were slashed. She thought it was a neighbor, but when she found clear deer-prints in the dirt (both adult and fawn), she stopped feeling so bad. She doesn’t mind deer eating the flowers, but unfortunately they are “greedy”; that is, they eat almost all the buds before they have even bloomed at all. We tried wrapping the garden in plastic chicken wire, but that didn’t work. I tried looking up a way to spray some sort of repellent but could not find anything reliable.
Her concern now is whether the lilies will survive if the flowers are prevented from blooming and being fertilized by bees (there are plenty of bulbs safely under the ground).
Are the bulbs enough? What role then do the flowers play?