Gardening in the Pac NW, was Crocus kotschyanunus ssp. kotschyan

Rodger Whitlock
Sun, 16 Oct 2005 11:12:09 PDT
On 15 Oct 05 at 23:36, Brook Klehm wrote:

> As I am about to move to Seattle from Sebastopol, California,
> ... I'm bringing the Cyclamens, Sternbergia lutea, Lycoris
> radiata that were in the ground here (in gopher baskets) and
> will be digging up Amaryllis and Nerines soon.  Should I
> worry?     ("Be afraid, be very afraid!!!" ?)

Seattle residents will have to address the rodent issue -- all
we have here in Victoria are mice, rats, and introduced gray

Two things I do know you need to worry about: microclimate and 
narcissus flies. 

The climate varies wildly from place to place in the Puget 
Sound/Georgia Strait trough. Pick the right location and your 
bulbs will thrive mightily; pick the wrong location and oops!

The major climatic factors to consider are annual rainfall and 
winter cold. Annual rainfall varies from less than 20" (in the 
SE corner of Victoria and in Sequim, Washington state iirc) to 
over 200" (up in the Cascade foothills SE of Seattle).

Winter cold depends on how far you are from saltwater (the 
"saltchuck" - might as well start learning the local lingo now) 
and what kind of topographic shelter you have from the north 
and northeast. We get outflows of extremely cold arctic air 
some winters (not always), and these will challenge your 
marginally hardy bulbs. There was a real doozy in February 1989 
that froze the ground a good foot deep in places; it was a 
three-times-a-century blast. You always have warning about 
these because they arise (not invariably) from high pressure 
systems in Alaska, and the Yukon.

Narcissus flies: they will make short work of your Lycoris
radiata, as well as many of the finer narcissus cultivars,
esp. those with N. triandrus blood. You might be lucky and end
up in an area they haven't colonized, but here in Victoria
they are ubiquitous because of the feral daffodils everywhere,
tough old \cultivars that play Typhoid Mary. I understand that
they are considerably less common around Seattle.

> There's so much to learn when gardening in a new climate and
> locale.  I have no idea what to expect.  I look forward to the
> challenge but worry about losing some favored plants.

But otoh (on the other hand) there are plants that were a dead 
loss in Sebastopol which thrive in Seattle.

Please don't bring sudden oak death along with you, btw. It's 
here, but the less the better.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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