Information on troughs and NARGS speakers

Jane McGary
Sun, 27 Jun 2004 11:00:58 PDT
A couple of comments on points brought up in Mary Sue's very interesting 
report on the Young garden:

>Troughs are useful for proving micro-habitats, especially if you have a 
>small, rather formal garden and don't want to build a typical rock garden. 
>Detailed instructions on making and planting troughs can be found in the 
>book "Rock Garden Design and Construction" (Timber Press, 2003) and in an 
>inexpensive booklet available from the NARGS Book Service (for ordering 
>information, go to <> and go to the Book Service page). Many 
>botanic gardens offer workshops in trough building, too.

Mary Sue mentioned that allowing seed to ripen keeps the plants growing 
longer and may increase the size of the bulb. I've also observed this, 
particularly in Fritillaria. Bulbs with fertile seed in their capsules 
(they will make capsules with bad seed also) keep their moist stems 
attached a long time. However, I don't know if any nutriments are being 
transported to the bulb, or if the roots are active during this period. 
Some California bulbs such as Dichelostemma can actually detach the stem 
from the bulb while the seeds are still quite immature -- even while the 
flowers are still blooming -- and can go through their whole reproductive 
cycle without being attached to the bulb at all, just on the moisture in 
the very long stem, the leaves having withered before flowering.

Regarding the NARGS speaker's tours, they arrange for both foreign and 
North American speakers to visit a series of chapters in a certain 
geographical area, usually 3 speakers per year. Unfortunately, the Youngs 
are scheduled only for the Atlantic coast, as far as I know. However, 
individual NARGS chapters often combine resources to sponsor mini-tours of 
speakers in their own areas -- for instance, our Portland Oregon chapter 
joins with Seattle, Eugene, and Medford, and sometimes British Columbia 
groups that are not NARGS but collaborate with us in meetings. There are 
both Eastern and Western Winter Study Weekends each year, in January and 
late February respectively, and they almost always include some sessions on 
bulbs. All this can be found on the Meetings page of the website mentioned 
above. In addition, the NARGS Seed Exchange is a primary source of unusual 
bulb seeds. I donate 75+ kinds each year, and I always find at least 30 
items that I want in exchange, however many bulbs I already grow. The 
journal has special issues, some of which should interest PBS members; I've 
not yet launched the initiative for the Mediterranean Bulbs issue, but 
summer 2004 is Cypripedium and fall 2004 is Aroids.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA
(Editor, NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly)

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