Favorite Purple Bulbs--TOW

John Bryan johnbryan@worldnet.att.net
Wed, 22 Sep 2004 15:51:34 PDT
Dear All:

I just wonder why no one has mentioned Dahlias? Cheers, John E. Bryan

Jane McGary wrote:
> I'm going to assume that "purple" refers to deep violet -- the color of the
> darker Dutch crocuses -- rather than bluish red or pale colors that we
> might call "lavender."
> Given that, the shiny violet of big crocuses is also found in some forms of
> Crocus vernus, the ancestor of those large selections, which is not so
> showy but less prone to flop over in bad weather, since its tube is
> shorter. My favorite is one I bought under the name 'Haarlem Gem'; Antoine
> Hoog told me it is not that clone (which has grayish outer segments), but
> just a good form of C. vernus ssp. vernus. Similar colors can be found in
> the normally paler C. tommasinianus, the rich violets being available in
> clones such as 'Whitewell Purple'.
> I share Mary Sue's enthusiasm for the gleaming, large-flowered Brodiaea
> elegans. Dichelostemma congesta can also be a rich color, though not
> always. I have seen a plant said to be the natural hybrid Dichelostemma x
> venusta that had flowers of deep red-violet. (Lately we have seen the Dutch
> selection 'Pink Diamond' introduced and said to be this same cross, but I
> doubt this, having heard the story of its introduction from the original
> collector; I suspect 'Pink Diamond' is either a variant of D. ida-maia, or
> a hybrid of that species and D. volubile.)
> I think the best "purple" in the bulbous irises is to be seen in selections
> of Iris latifolia, the "English" iris (it actually comes from Spain). It
> resembles "Dutch" (hybrids of Spanish species) irises in form but flowers
> later and is more winter-hardy. Many selections of Reticulata iris species
> and hybrids are available, most of them in the blue-violet range but some
> more red-violet, such as 'George'.
> Many fritillarias are described as violet or purple, but the color is not
> bright, so although I love the plants I wouldn't offer them as shining
> examples of color. The modifiers "dusky," "brownish," and "muddy" are often
> used along with "purple" for these flowers.
> And let's not forget the genus Allium, which offers many showy species,
> especially from Central Asia, in bright violet. Most of them are tall
> plants for the border.
> There are purple Alstroemerias, most of which are quite tender. The one I
> grow is A. phillippii, and it is truly gorgeous -- a small plant with large
> flowers of lavender boldly streaked in deep violet -- but I have to
> remember to pull the pot out of the frame and carry it into the greenhouse
> when deep frost threatens.
> Jane McGary
> Northwestern Oregon, USA
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