Tiny bulbs

Kenneth Hixson khixson@nu-world.com
Sun, 15 Feb 2004 09:57:06 PST
Hi, All:
(1) short stems; 
(2) slow to moderate rate of increase; 
(3) attractive flowers; 
(4), most important, low-lying or sparse foliage that will not look 
	messy as the bulbs mature. 

	I've been pondering this topic for a while, and am not sure I have
quite grasped what is being asked.  Normally I would start the other way 
around, meaning if I have a trough, will it have a grit topping/or bark mulch,
will it represent some kind of landscape or should it be in glorious flower
for a certain period, will it be summer dormant or in flower for a long period
of time, will it have winter protection from frost or rain, or won't it, etc.
	I am assuming this is to be a master list of small (tiny?) bulbs for
various uses, and hardy for me with minimal care.  If I were to plant a
some of the smaller bulbs I'd consider would include:

	Olysinum (Sisyrinchium) douglasii--especially some of the color 
varients now becoming available.  (sources??)
	Sisyrinchium macounii album--the nomenclature on this has probably
changed, but if there is room for a plant as large as 6-8 inches tall, this
is amiable and nice. White is always a good color.
	Other Sisyrinchium-many are herbaceous perennials, but are petite,
and have small scale flowers for a long period.  Blue, yellow, white, or?
Some of the long season bloomers may set enough seed to be weedy, but we
know how to remove weeds.
	Allium-Ha, bet you can't stop with just one.  Choose for foliage
interest as well as flowers, to extend the period of interest.  A late
summer or fall bloomer would be nice to extend the season.
	Brodia-second Diana's suggestions.  I'd add Brodia coronaria.  As it
grows in my pasture, this is under 6", and is worthwhile because it flowers
(blue of course) about the first of July when not a lot is going on.  My
plants may be depauperate/smaller than some forms.
	Calochortus--some of the small cat's ears.  These deserve close-up
inspection to be appreciated.  In the garden they really can't be seen.
Rather large leaves, but may be glaucous enough to be interesting.
	Delphineum menziesii-Mary Sue will forgive me for this one, I hope.
This gives flowers for a fairly long period, has nice foliage which is
different from many bulbous plants, and in the wild as I've seen it, can
be under half an inch tall, if there are not too many flowers sticking up.
There are other Delphineum, many not geophytes, but small and worthwhile.
	Dicentra--The small ones I've grown aren't worth growing for flowers, 
because they go so quickly, but the foliage makes them almost worth growing--
if only it lasted a little longer.  I'd look for more small Dicentras.

	Narcissus-many worthwhile small/tiny ones.  I'd probably try N.
asturiensis, formerly N. minimus and forever Minimouse.  Earlier to start 
flowering than many narcissus, this is worthwhile as a shock plant--the
is bigger than the plant, if such a thing is possible.  
	There are many small jonquils, most would be nice.  Sun Disc is later 
than some, and worthwhile for that reason.
	There are many bulbocodiums, the foliage is small, and in some 
varieties is also flat on the soil surface, so is not obtrusive.  Flowers
are usually relatively large, but smaller flowers can be found.

	I'd like to suggest an anemonee, but haven't grown any small ones.
Same with Oxalis.  O. adenophylla adds foliage interest when not in flower, 
but may need winter protection in a trough.  Cyclamen get too big after
awhile, but might do for a few years, especially as foliage plants.
	Geranium orientale-tibeticum is probably too big, but there are 
other tuberous geraniums, some of which are small.  I don't grow any,
but I'd like to learn about them.
	Some species gladiolus are very small, almost like crocus, and 
with reed like foliage.  Same with species Freesia, Ixia, etc.

	I could go on, but it is someone else's turn.
Ken Z7 western O-regon

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