Bulbs of western American Fritillaria again

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Sat, 02 Jun 2007 11:32:36 PDT
On 1 Jun 07, at 18:28, John T Lonsdale wrote:

> Bulbs sans tunics like these frits are very susceptible to desiccation
> in our heat...

I think just about all frits of any provenance, not just western 
ones, have this problem with desiccation. Indeed, some frits (e.g. F 
camschatense) pretty well demand moist conditions at all times.

Molly Grothaus (formerly of Portland, Oregon) once delivered a talk 
on her frit garden at one of the study weekends. Dealing with 
summertime desiccation was an issue for her. Thanks to a contractor 
husband, she had a large bed made of flue tiles on end, one species 
in each tile. As she described it, one end of the array of tiles was 
shadier in summer than the other end because of proximity to a small 

Her practice when she lifted and replanted her frits was to move them 
to a tile a little closer to the shady end if they looked a bit 
withered. I presume that she gradually shuffled them around until 
each planting was getting the amount of shade it needed to prevent 

Those of you trying to grow these dryland bulbs out of doors in the 
hot, humid east (and I grew up outside Wash DC so I know whereof we 
speak) might also want to steal a page from E B Anderson and plant 
your summer drought-loving bulbs where the roots of deciduous trees 
and shrubs can get at them. The roots will suck all the moisture out 
of the soil as the leaves unfurl, helping keep your bulbs nicely dry.

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

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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