Cynthia, Boone, and Joe, on the road
Tue, 25 Oct 2005 15:14:49 PDT
Hi Gang,

We took a road trip to Vidor last Saturday, we all live quite a bit west of 
there.  From Sour Lake onwards we saw lots of signs of hurricane damage.  
Beaumont and Vidor lost large numbers of trees, big trees, old trees, trees that 
were easily 100 or 200 years old.

But, our goal was not to ogle hurricane damage.  We visited with 3 gardeners: 
 Marcelle Sheppard,  and Margie and Lanny Brown.  

Margie's home lost an enormous old walnut tree that was the focus of her 
garden; it blew down but somehow missed the house.  Margie has large numbers of 
Crinum.  Hers are they cultivars and species that are suited for East Texas, and 
Margie is the type of gardener that takes care of her plants.  Actually, 
Margie and Lanny take very good care.  They have spent years creating the perfect 
soil and drainage conditions for plants, and they weed and water year-round, 
even in sweltering July and August.  Margie has some of the most luscious, 
scrumptious, and well-grown Crinum that I've ever seen.  Her plants get tall; if 
they are 3-4 ft-tall at an arboretum they will be 4-5 ft-tall in Margie's 
garden.  Margie grows numerous bulbs and geophytes, and they all seemed to have 
survived the hurricane very well.  

Marcelle Sheppard was fared well as far as hurricane damage goes too.  She 
lost the top to her greenhouse, but not much else (other than trees, trees, 
trees).  Marcelle was hospitalized earlier in the summer, and mostly unable to 
even see her Crinum garden.  However, all is intact and doing well.  Boone 
(graduate student at Texas A&M) helped plant about a zillion Hippeastrum seeds from 
Barry Clark, and Crinum seeds too.  The C. flaccidum seeds from Australia are 
doing well for Marcelle (thanks all you guys, Marcelle loves the seeds), even 
some polyploid types.  

East Texas is not where Crinum evolved, but C. bulbispermum has naturalized 
here in a few places--especially in areas that get wet sometimes but which 
become bone dry other times.  Such places are just too dry for our native C. 
americanum but suit C. bulbispermum.  It was interesting to see that some of 
Marcelle's hybrids had set seed that germinated this summer, even though July and 
August were very hot and dry.  The parentage of these seeds is a bit obscure but 
which seems to include C. bulbispermum, C. scabrum, C. moorei, and C. 
americanum (or C. erubescens).  

The nice part about visiting Marcelle was that she is so generous.  She says 
something like, "Wait till I get my walker and we can view the garden."  Then 
she'll say, "Oh, bring a shovel so you can take some bits and pieces."  
Marcelle has been recovering slowly from her accident in early summer (broken 
pelvis), and looks better now than any time since.  She's busy organizing her plans, 
taking notes on her various hybrids, doing rainlily crossing as well as Canny 
hybridizing (she's been doing that for years).  

It was a great road trip, Cynthia provided the car, Boone did the driving, I 
ate doughnuts and finished off the extra coffee, etc.  When we got home, it 
was nearly dark and we divvied up the plants (Boone even dug some red hurricane 
lilies from the side of the road).  

One special part of the day was that Marcelle gave each a start of "Forks of 
the River" (a.k.a. "River Forks Crinum"), a found Crinum, and Margie gave us 
all a start of C. amabile.   River Forks reminds me of C. americanum on 
steroids, but without runners (it does offset easily), and with a willingness to 
bloom--no swamp needed.  

LINK:  River Forks Crinum 


Conroe Joe
Finally cool weather in Houston area, was 32 F last night for an hour or two. 

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