What's Blooming Now--TOW

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 26 Apr 2004 19:06:25 PDT
This is the hiatus between the great peak of bulb flowering in early spring 
and the peak of "California" bulb flowering in late May through June. 
Nonetheless there are some genera making an impression in the bulb frames 
and even more in the open garden.

The fritillarias are through here except for the very late ones -- F. 
pyrenaica, pontica, graeca (or perhaps now. F. mutabilis) and acmopetala; 
they are mostly pollinated by wasps, which emerge later than bees and are 
busy at the green flowers.

There are some late Muscari species, such as M. pallens which Mary Sue 
mentioned -- a small, non-invasive species, with pretty purple stems and 
white flowers faintly washed with blue; and M. argaei album, which I read 
is known only in cultivation, a true albino, a little greenish in bud, and 
coming true from seed. The "comosum" group of Muscari, formerly the genus 
Leopoldia, are also at their peak now; M. dionysicum, a very large one, is 
particularly attractive. There are still Bellevalias, mostly the less 
colorful species now such as B. romana, B. dubia, and B. sarmatica.

Scillas go on well into late spring, and most of the late ones are easy 
garden plants such as S. pratensis (I'm not sure if it it;s synonymous with 
S. lilio-hyacinthus, but they look similar) and the very small S. verna.

The pest "endymion" Rodger mentioned must be the hybrids of Hyacinthoides 
campanulata and H. non-scripta, sold commercially as " English bluebells." 
They are naturalized widely in the Pacific Northwest. The white ones are 
attractive and smaller, anyway. They are best restricted to rough grassy 
areas, but probably Rodger has no rough areas in his garden! I certainly do.

Also best planted in the grass is Ornithogalum umbellatum, the Star of 
Bethlehem. Many "thogs" (I hear the English fanciers call them that) are in 
flower now, though the smallest ones started in January. Some are 
admissible to well-kept plantings, but most increase as fast as cheap 
Muscari and are best put under big shrubs and so on. I like the common 
European O. nutans with its nodding, gray-green-striped flowers; it will 
grow anywhere.

A surprise in the garden today was a flowering plant of the miniature 
Gladiolus alatus (I think), which I have in the frame. I spread the spent 
potting soil on various beds in the garden, and there was a little 
orange-and-yellow gladiolus that had made it through a reasonably cold 
winter or two.

The "Sierra giant" form of Triteleia laxa, huge light lavender flowers on 
tall stems, is blooming in garden and frames. It's so different from the 
deep violet, shorter form I was used to, that when I first saw it in the 
wild I had no idea what it was. I collected the seed in Mariposa County, 
California and have full-size plants in their 4th year. Another Triteleia 
in flower is tiny T. lemmoniae from Arizona, with dark yellow flowers on 
3-inch stems.

Many bearded iris species are in flower, and the Pacific Coast irises are 
starting. Of the latter I have mostly hybrids but also some species, 
including native I. tenax. Now that I have the slugs on the run I should 
reintroduce I. tenuis, a crested iris endemic to my home area.

A number of arums have flowered this year. A. korolkowii is doing well in 
the open garden despite its winter foliage, and I'm accumulating some 
different leaf forms of A. italicum; subsp. albospathum is particularly 
lush. The few arisaemas I have are just now emerging in the shady garden.

Also benefiting from the anti-slug campaign are the lilies. L. mackliniae 
is soon to flower, and I see buds on L. candidum.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

At 05:00 PM 4/26/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>1. Cyclamen repandum.
>Huge sheets of it, mixed forms of all types. It does very well for
>me planted in the duff that accumulates under big conifers.
>C. repandum finishes the nine-month cyclamen season for me. It will
>start again in late July with a few tentative early blooms on C.
>hederifolium, which will come to a climax in September and then
>dwindle away by mid-November. Weather permitting, it will be followed
>by C. coum, which lasts until mid-March, whereupon C. pseudibericum
>fills in the gap until C. repandum once again displays its glory.
>C. mirabile & C. cilicium flower only modestly for me in the fall; C.
>europaeum is an abject failure. And other species are generally a
>little too tender to survive in the long run: a good blast of arctic
>air and they're toast.
>2. Endymion <something or other>, a pest of pests, as
>every seed germinates if you don't de-flower them religiously.
>3. Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii -- I have some
>white-flowered bulbs collected locally, but their seedlings revert
>to the usual blue-violet. Camas is as bad as bluebells for seeding
>I also have a named form coming into flower, 'Princess
>Something-or-other', a beautiful deep violet with the great virtue
>of not seeding about. The cream-colored double C. leichtlinii
>leichlinii is still in tight bud.
>Rodger Whitlock
>Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
>Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
>on beautiful Vancouver Island
>pbs mailing list

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