Today in my garden

Jim McKenney
Thu, 30 Mar 2006 15:13:34 PST
After I finished my morning things today, I drove up to the bank; I got home
at about 10:30 A.M. There in the front yard was a huge deer contentedly
munching on my bulb plants. Evidently the Muscari inflorescences were a big

I clapped my hands a few times and it ignored me. Then I approached it (it
was maybe five yards away) and started to yell. It raised its head, looked
at me with a puzzled look, and finally - showing signs of confusion - began
to move away. 

I live in a highly built-up area, a typical late twentieth century
subdivision of ramblers surrounded by other subdivisions of ramblers.
However, Montgomery County is like a good well marbled steak, with veins of
fat parkland threaded throughout the community. Things should get really
exciting when the coyotes start to chase the deer through the neighborhood.
Then we will have to contend with not only nibbled plants but also plants
mashed down in the fracas.  

Last year I moved many of the lilies from the back garden which backs onto
the woods (read deer buffet) to the front garden. It may have been a waste
of time. 

Now I'm trying to decide which style of deer netting will be least obtrusive
in the front garden. I won't be the first in the area to do this. 

The last of the crocuses, C. versicolor and C. pestalozzae, will probably
finish this weekend. The next wave of Fritillaria is opening - lots of
excitement there! FF. acmopetala, a. wendelboi, and eastwoodiae are either
open a bit or on the verge of opening or at least showing color. Flower buds
are showing on some of the Calochortus, and the first of the themidaceous
plants is opening.  Tulipa of the humilis group are beginning to flower.
Bellevallia longipes has a nice fat inflorescence. It's easy for an hour or
two to evaporate now when examining the seedlings in the frames.  

Iris 'Dardanus', now in its third season here, has nineteen "fans" from an
initial three. Last year it produced seven scapes, two of them with two

Hyacinthoides italica is blooming today and it's not at all what I expected.
The bulb looked like a Hyacinthoides bulb, and I expected a small version of
the Spanish bluebell. But the plant blooming now looks like Scilla bifolia
a bit. The first flowers face upward and are nestled right down in the
foliage. At first I thought my "helpers" had been at it again. But then I
checked the images on the wiki and they do look like my plant. 

Still, that comes as a surprise. Why? Because about seventy years ago, David
Griffiths discussed this plant, mentioning that it was not commonly grown in
the US. He did not offer a photo, but he did mention that it was similar to
the Spanish bluebell, about a foot high, and did not bloom until May or
early June.

My plant, in the garden with no advantage in placement, is blooming now and
is maybe three or four inches high. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where there is some
musk-scented venison to be had locally: among the muscari nibbled today were
most of the musk hyacinths, my favorites.   


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