12 Christmas-flowering bulbs

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Tue, 25 Dec 2007 15:46:10 PST
I certainly can't match for either quality or quantity the handsome
Christmas list posted by Antoine Hoog, but we do have some nice things
happening here in Maryland, USA. 

For instance, Crocus longiflorus continues to bloom and provide delicious
fragrance. Other crocuses in bloom include C. ochroleucus and the
white-flowered form of Crocus cartwrightianus mentioned in several of my
recent posts. Crocus hermoneus and C. goulimyi were in bloom until a few
days ago. As mentioned in an earlier post, there has been no sign of bloom
from any of several different accessions of Crocus laevigatus. 

All of these crocuses grow in a cold frame, but it's a cold frame which has
been closed only rarely so far this season. 

There is also no activity on the snowdrop front here. 

The biggest pleasure here comes from a plant which, depending on where you
garden, will be either something to be taken for granted or something so
unlikely as to be hardly taken into consideration. But here in the suburbs
north of Washington, D.C. most of us still regard it as a wonder and
something to be cherished. I'm speaking of the Algerian iris, Iris

Say what you might, but there is little in our local horticultural history
to suggest that we are Algerian iris country. The plant is hardly known in
this area as a garden plant. "Everyone" who has read  British gardening
books from the time Gertrude Jekyll told the story of the discovery of a
white-flowered form a century ago to the present knows the plant and wants
it. I tried it decades ago, and although the plants grew well, they never,
not even once, succeeded in maturing a blossom. I gave up on it.

Two years ago another local gardener who had a similar experience gave up on
it, dug his plant and distributed the pieces to members of our local rock
garden group. Although I was not the only person to take a piece, as far as
I'm aware my plant is the only one which has dug in, made itself at home and
bloomed freely. This year it has been in bloom constantly since some time in
November. That such large flowers appear at this season continues to amaze

When I checked it late this morning a new, fresh, large bloom had opened to
greet me. 

This plant is not in one of my cold frames: it grows exposed to the open
air, placed right against the wall of the house and with a southwest

It must be beginner's luck, but whatever the reason it's making me very

Season's Greetings, Everyone!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where wintersweet is swelling
its buds and Camellia sasanqua continues to bloom. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
BLOG! http://mcwort.blogspot.com/
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society http://www.potomaclilysociety.org/

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