Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 09 Sep 2004 19:52:56 PDT
Hi All,

I've been very preoccupied potting up bulbs these days. Like Paul Tyerman I 
have been starting a lot of seeds every year and my husband recently 
commented that he thought I was maxed out for room for all I grow. I know 
he is right. I've been glancing through the messages, but haven't felt I 
had time to respond to anything, but Jim McKenney has at last made me want 
to write.

Reading Jim McKenney's remarks about bulbs appearing in the fall when his 
garden is at its peak reminds me of how different our growing conditions 
are on this pbs list. Like Angelo it has been a long time since we've had 
rain here, May for us. Everything is bone dry and dusty and the fire danger 
is high. Gardens are asleep just waiting for the wake up call with the 
first rains. Some of the bulbs are shooting out and even blooming, but they 
aren't going to last very long since we have been having a really hot spell 
and everything is so dry. I think of this time as the start of the garden 
season too and thought what Jim wrote was really poetic. I am really hooked 
on seeing signs of growth as the foliage emerges and spikes of flowers too. 
Our California natives mostly won't start appearing until October to March, 
but I grow South African bulbs and some of them are making an appearance 
now. There are some summer rainfall species that bloom at the end of their 
season in bloom at the moment: Nerines, Tritonia disticha, and some 
Gladiolus. Today my old standby, Calydorea amabilis, one of the longest 
blooming bulbs I grow had four flowers and there was a nice flower on 
Cypella coelestis. I think it would like a hotter summer and I've only had 
a handful of flowers, but it is such a stunning thing when it bloom. No 
doubt it has been liking our recent weather. The Zephyranthes candida, the 
same one Jay shared with so many, has been really nice the last couple of 
years. It likes getting watered every day in the pot with our lemon tree 
which is on drip irrigation. It also doesn't seem to mind at all getting 
high nitrogen fertilizer that the lemon tree requires. So much for common 

The first of the season winter rainfall Gladiolus have been blooming too. 
One species is finished; G. carmineus has been blooming all over the 
garden; and many others are spiking. Moraea polystachya is emerging and 
will be in bloom soon and two species of winter growing Oxalis are already 
blooming and others sprouting. Some of the summer growing Oxalis Uli has 
shared with me are still blooming, especially the wonderful one from 
Ecuador. The Cyclamen are appearing, always a thrill. Since our gardens are 
not at their best at the moment, I find the fall and the end of summer 
blooming bulbs give me a lift. They don't have so much to compete with so 
they are very special.

I wish that Scilla scilloides that I've been growing from seed for a number 
of years now would bloom so I could decide whether or not I like it. If it 
is as unattractive as Jim says, I'll be sorry I wasted the summer water on it.

A number of years ago I won some Bravoa geminiflora at a California 
Horitcultural Society auction being grown by someone with hot summers. It 
bloomed very nicely the first year, but hasn't since. This year it looks 
the best it has since I got it, but still no blooms. I'm wondering if it 
isn't happy with my temperatures. Does anyone on our list grow it?

No one has added any pictures to the wiki in a week, a new record. I have a 
number of pictures to add and a new member from Australia sent me some 
pictures too, so will try to find the time to get them processed and up.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

More information about the pbs mailing list