I am not an expert and couldnt say definatly if that is a good idea or not.
I have been in an emergency situation like you and have relocated blooming lilies. Many times they go right on as nothing happened. Sometimes they take a year off after blooming that year.
Use a fork when lifting. I have killed bulbs with a spade. At least with a fork you give the bulb an even chance.
Many times the shoot doesnt rise straight out of the bulb so you never can tell where the bulb is assuming its straight down from where the stem comes out of the ground.
I would wait for jmorth or Moby oe someone else to give a more informed answer.Its 4AM here.
Ge gave you great advice about using a fork. And yes, put the fork in at an angle several inches from the bulb, because Ge is definitely right about that too! The idea is to make the fork function like a lever and take a clump of soil with the bulb.
But I can also help you. I have been moving lily bulbs into pots. Most of them were budded, but not blooming, and some are over a foot tall. As long as you lift the entire bulb (take some soil along) they will continue to develop. Some of them sat in my car overnight. I brought over a Silk Road that was one foot tall. It's now 2 feet tall and budded.
Another factor - the house next to me has been on the market for almost two years and it was just purchased. The bed that looks wrecked sits next to the patio of the of the house next door so my new neighbors are looking at it every time they grill and hang out on the patio. They grill all the time.
If I lift the bed, I'll do it this week. I'll let everyone know how it turns outs.
Thanks for the crooked plant advice - I will dig carefully.
When moving growing lilies, it's a good idea to prepare its new location ahead of time to minimize the roots' exposure to air. Normally using a fork is fine but in this case I prefer a shovel so the soil won't be as disturbed. Use a small shovel or hand spade to remove soil around the clump so you can get the big shovel in the trench and well under the bulbs. Once in their new home, water them in well. (I like to backfill enough to cover the bulb, water, then backfill to ground-level and water again) They shouldn't need any more supplemental water after this like most transplants would.
You might consider giving them support for about a while if you think they look wobbly. I sometimes use those cheap bamboo sticks that come several in a package for a few bucks.
Now ~ worst case scenario ~ if you break a stem away from the bulb, plant it anyway. Plant the stem where you can give it lots of extra water since it's those fine stem roots that feed the stem and blooms for the year. It really can work, I managed to keep an 8 ft. henryi stem alive through blooming. :)
Mar, I really like your watering advice, and I'll definitely use it in the future. And I agree with you about the bamboo stick trick!
Badger, if by any chance you can't prepare a trench for immediate removal, you can pop the into any pot that you have available that will accommodate the root system. If you have any small pots - plastic or terra cotta - pop some compost or potting soil in it, transfer the lily to it, and give it some water. I have just done quite a few of these in the last few weeks. They will actually continue to develop in the pot. Then you can transfer them to their final home. I actually did this, put them in my car, and when I finally planted them two days later the buds had continued to develop.
Will this advice be good for after bloom, as well? I never expected Triumphator to be over 6' tall, and multiply like a bunny. I don't want to try to move it until it's neighboring lilies have had a chance to bloom. From what I've read here, I probably shouldn't try to divide it until it's dormant?
Once the foliage yellows the lily has had a chance to replenish itself. At that point it is safe to divide it. Doing so earlier will diminish its vigor (although it sounds like it needs some taming). Unfortunately (?) dividing it will only free it to throw wild parties and drink in the open area you move it to, and multiply further. The same thing happened to me with Silver Sunburst. Frankly, my solution was to give away at least nine bulbs (I started with 3!)
OCC ~ it's always best to move bulbs when they are dormant in the fall. These "special care" instructions are for those times when it's an emergency of sorts. If you lose the stem this early in the season then the bulb won't have time to build energy stores for next year.
I had a talk with my new neighbors. They don't think the bed looks that bad. It does look better from their side but it could still use some work. I showed them the wood I have to rebuild the bed. I'm going to make it about a third narrower but its going from about 4 inches high to about 16 inches high. I have some really neat deck wood. They are good with it being done this fall.
Thanks all for the advice. Its supposed to be 96 on Sat. so Fall sounds good to me.