Lachenalia growing conditions!

Jim McKenney
Tue, 06 Dec 2005 09:31:40 PST
Thanks,Dave, for that nice post on Lachenalia in a window cold frame.

I'm currently in my "cold frame" phase. I think American gardeners in
general have lost the art of the cold frame. A century ago they were a
commonplace; they hardly seem to have survived the Second World War. Cold
frames offer a low-tech, low-cost solution (or near solution) to the
problems which occur when we try to grow many marginally hardy plants,
especially those which are in active growth during the winter yet are heat

In the recent past, I successfully used mine for such things as turban
ranunculus and poppy anemones. This year much of the space is taken up by a
trial of sweet violets, including Parma-type violets. Remaining space is
used for odds and ends: Arum korolkowii, some new Sternbergia from Jane
McGary (still blooming!) a row of chervil for my breakfast eggs.

I have a dozen Lachenalia which were to have gone into the cold frames, but
I lost my nerve. The Lachenalia are now inside the house and probably
getting cooked. My cold frames are unheated, and not sited near the warming
influence of a house wall, but it always surprises me what will survive the
winter in them. 

Your mention of a window cold frame brought back some childhood memories. I
had a neighbor who had a window cold frame which must have been much like
the one you have. Many of my earliest memories of certain plants came from
periodic peeps into that window frame.

I've got a window ideally situated for such an affair: on the sunny side of
the house and right at ground level. If I can just get rid of several cubic
yards of accumulated junk on the inside side of that window, I too may
finally have a window cold frame for my Lachenalia. 

Thanks for the memories!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, with several inches of wet
snow on the ground and melting quickly. I was out in the garden yesterday
planting until the snow began to fall. 

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