Five favorite yellow-flowered geophytes

Jim McKenney
Thu, 22 Jan 2004 13:32:55 PST
Thanks, Jane, for telling us about your conditions. I wish everyone would
do this a bit more. I have very naive notions about conditions in other
parts of the world. I'm one of those American gardeners who is now
beginning to realize that much of coastal western Europe -the areas of most
intense traditional focus for American gardeners -corresponds to zone 8 in
terms of winter temperatures. But zone 8 London has almost nothing else in
common with zone 8 North Carolina. That's no doubt why the Sunset zones
were developed for the west coast. 

Invest in a growth chanber? I thought that's what the air-conditioned house

At 09:44 AM 1/22/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>At 09:37 PM 1/21/2004 -0500, Jim McKenney wrote:
>>Here's what I'm about to try for Colchicum luteum and, should I be able to
>>acquire another one,  Iris winogradowii: after the plants enter dormancy,
>>I'll give them a few weeks at prevailing temperatures and then  try storing
>>them in the refrigerator for the rest of the summer. The refrigerator here
>>gets opened so many times a day that the temperature is probably in the low
>>40s F much of the time, if that.
>>Has anyone else out there tried this? I would like to try this with some
>>alpine Saxifraga, too. Maybe even experiment with pushing them into two
>>growth/dormancy cycles per calendar year.
>No, what they actually would need is nearly dry storage at a temperature 
>near but perhaps not below freezing, through the WINTER, and in the summer, 
>sharp night cooling and low humidity with excellent air circulation. Day 
>temperatures could be warm. Such conditions are, I am told, provided in 
>hot, humid Japan at a botanic garden with refrigerated plunge benches and 
>climate controlled atmosphere. Unless you invest in a growth chamber, you 
>are unlikely to make true high alpines very happy in Washington, D.C. 
>However, some Saxifraga should survive there with careful attention to 
>watering and frequent spraying for fungus infection, which is, I believe, 
>their main problem in humid summers.
>I have not succeeded with either I. winogradowii (had it about 5 years) or 
>Colchicum luteum (3 years maximum), but I try bulbs like this along with my 
>alpines, which are plunged in pots on my covered porch facing east or 
>north, watered very carefully winter and summer. However, summers here are 
>quite dry and at my elevation, night cooling is sharp indeed -- as much as 
>40 degrees F between day and night, even on the hottest summer days.
>Jane McGary
>Northwestern Oregon
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