TOW: Bulbs with surprising hardiness

J.E. Shields
Tue, 09 Sep 2003 17:40:02 PDT
Hi all,

Let me add today's 2 cents' worth of surprising survival.  I saw a bit of 
bright red out beside the greenhouse where a lot of Chinese Lycoris species 
are growing.  Planted in August, 1998, a small group of Lycoris radiata 
pumila have sent up a scape and are blooming!  I had long since given them 
up for dead.  The only other Lycoris still in bloom there are in a clump of 
L. caldwellii.

I was at first amazed at how well Sternbergia lutea survives outdoors here; 
now of course I expect it to.

Our expectations can be mis-directed by the poor quality of plant materials 
sometimes sold by large commercial outfits.  I was convinced Corydalis 
solida and Fritillaria meleagris were not growable here in central Indiana, 
until Nina Lambert dug some fresh bulbs from her garden in Upstate New York 
and sent them to me.  What a difference!  They did very well here.

Later I got very good quality stock of Corydalis solida 'G.P. Baker' and 
'Beth Evans' from Don Hachenberry and from Gene Bush.  Now I'm trying to 
spread them around here so I can build up my stock of them, too.

Finally, after growing Brodiaea coronaria in a pot in the greenhouse and 
getting very little bloom, and grumbling because I did not think it worth 
the precious greenhouse benchtop space it took up, I planted the whole 
potful out in the rock garden in summer 2002.  This summer, they bloomed 
abundantly!  Whoever convinced me that B. coronaria was too tender for 
Indiana was apparently wrong.  These bulbs were grown from seed from Ron 
Ratko, collected in the wild, his #NNS 97-37.  Maybe Ron collected these 
seeds from a harsher, wetter locality than the usual California types grow in.

Regards to all,
Jim Shields
in central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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