In bloom now

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 17 Oct 2005 08:03:39 PDT
Dear All,

We had our first rain since June a couple of nights ago. It was only a 
quarter of a inch (.0635 mm?) but still welcome as everything is so dusty 
and dry and living in the forest so to speak there is fire danger until we 
have some good rains.

I've been enjoying the last of my Nerines and first of my Crocuses and 
Oxalis. Crocus tournefortii is wonderful at the moment with its gorgeous 
long orange stigma branches. I get tempted to take its picture every day. 
And yesterday Crocus niveus opened. It is one of my favorites. I also have 
one pot of unnamed Crocus blooming since the birds have already stolen the 
tag. Perhaps I'll figure it out from the process of elimination but there 
are both purple and white flowers in the pot and I don't remember that 
before. Last year the jays had a really high success rate in planting tan 
oak acorns in my bulb pots. There must have been 30 or 40 that came up and 
when I was repotting only 3-5 that didn't make it. I'd be thrilled with 
such success with my bulb seeds. Do you suppose they take the tags out when 
they plant so they can remember where they planted?

As usual the Oxalis are gorgeous this time of year with our finally warm 
days. There are bright pinks, dazzling yellows that are hard to photograph, 
apricot colors and a host of interesting leaves and more coming up every day.

Yesterday I was very surprised to see a Babiana in bloom. I didn't think 
any of my Babianas bloom in the fall. None ever have before. This one looks 
like Babiana vanzyliae which is what it is supposed to be on the tag. We 
saw that blooming in Nieuwoudtville in August and the Color Encyclopedia 
lists it as blooming August-September. Last year it bloomed in February 
which would be right. Perhaps it thought our summer felt like winter?

Moraea polystachya is now blooming in two places in my garden and will be 
blooming for another three months at least depending on when it gets really 
cold and wet. I watched a bee pollinate one flower and then crawl all over 
an unopened bud trying to find the way in. It is such a satisfactory plant 
when it blooms reliably which mine finally are in pots in my raised beds as 
I don't think the soil dries out quite so much there as it does in the 
ground. The ones I planted out I'm lucky to see again.

I have a number of exquisite small pink Gladiolus species in bloom (G. 
brevifolius and G. martleyi) and there is a late spike of G. monticola 
starting. The first flower of that was in July. And there are still more 
Gladiolus carmineus opening here and there even though there are seed pods 
now on some of the earlier plants and the long leaves have appeared on 
those plants too.

Mary Sue

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

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