What's blooming now

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sat, 10 Mar 2007 09:12:43 PST

In coastal Northern California I am lucky to be able to have some bulb in 
bloom year round although summer is slow since that is the dry season and 
although I do grow some summer blooming bulbs, I try to limit growing a lot 
of things that are probably going to be marginal for me because they need 
more warmth during the day or night or regular water. We had a dry January 
and a wet February and now as the days are getting longer and warmer there 
is a lot blooming. So here is a summary with no doubt some things forgotten:
California natives: Allium haematochiton and A. hyalinum; Calochortus 
uniflorus with some other species in bud; Cardamine californicum, 
Delphinium nudicaule, D. luteum, D. purpusii, D. hybrids, and D. cardinale 
in bud (I've lost this latter in the ground and put it in a raised bed and 
it is too big, obviously liking this too much), Erythronium helenae and E. 
multiscapoideum  (best year ever for this one in a very deep pot; I lost 
the ones I planted in the ground), and Triteleia that the Robinetts called 
T. ixioides ssp scabra 'Tiger' but others refer  to as T. unifolia.

South African irids--Several Babianas including B. framesii and one I can 
never quite figure out; Freesia alba which means walking through my garden 
there is fragrance everywhere; Geissorhiza inaequalis everywhere along with 
G. leipoldtii and a first bloom ever- yea- from G. tulbaghensis;  Gladiolus 
gracilis finishing, G. huttonii hybrids, G. tristis, and lots of buds on 
other species I expect to open any moment; Hesperantha cucullata, H. 
latifolia (blooming for months), H. paucifolia and H. vaginata; Moraea 
atropunctata, M. sisyrinchium, and M. tripetala; Romuleas that continue to 
bloom and bloom, new ones starting as others finish: R amoena, R. atrandra, 
R. bulbocodium in many forms, R. citrina, R. diversiformis, R. flava, R. 
grandiscapa, R. hirta, R. kombergensis, R. obscura;  Sparaxis bulbifera, 
S.grandiflora, and hybrids and Tritonia dubia.

My Cyclamen continue to bloom, C. cilicum (long time), C. coum, C. 
pseuibericum, C. repandum, even C. purpurescens. I have been planting more 
of them in the ground as the ones I have been growing from seed take up 
more and more room on my benches and have finally been finding some places 
in the garden where they thrive. One thrill is C. pseuibericum that is 
growing with my purple leaved Cardamine californicum, both blooming at the 

There are a number of Lachenalias blooming on the covered open benches: L. 
aloides forms aurea, 'Pearsonii' , tricolor, and vanzyyliae, L. attentuata, 
L. carnosa, L. kliprandensis, L. mediana, L. mutabilis, L. reflexa, and L. 
splendida. There is a yellow one growing in a Calochortus pot (tag saying 
unknown bulb when I planted it) that looks like L. orchioides, but a really 
attractive one.

The normal Ipheion uniflorum is in bloom in my garden. Some of those I have 
in pots have been blooming for 3 or 4 months including white and dark 
colored ones.

This has not been a good year for my Oxalis, but I do have blooms from 
Oxalis purpurea and Oxalis obtusa, several different clones.

Some nice additions from Jane McGary are pleasing me: Hyacinthoides italica 
and Scilla monophyllos. There are some unknown Crocus in the ground 
blooming and Crocus kosaninii blooming in a pot.

I got really interested in Muscari when it was the topic of the week and 
started growing it from seed. It's long blooming in my climate, sometimes 
starting early and then taking a break and going again for several months. 
Blooming now are M. azureum, M. aucheri, M. botyroides, M. pseudomuscari, 
and M. neglectum. M. pallens on the other hand is just starting into growth.

The wild Hyacinthus orientalis is starting to bloom along with some blue 
cultivars that were in a pot left behind when we bought our house. They 
aren't supposed to come back, but they do every year in my raised beds, 
kept dry in summer.

After skipping a year or two and not showing up my Nothoscordum are 
blooming again this year. I kept them in the greenhouse last summer and 
watered them every now and then so perhaps that helped. Alberto says they 
should be called N. felipponei, but I see Kew is saying the accepted names 
are Nothoscordum dialystemon   and Nothoscordum bivalve var. bivalve. The 
latter I received as Nothoscordum sellowianum. Both came from Bill Dijk who 
shared these with a number of us in 1999. I turned mine around to the 
Northern hemisphere, but I think they like warmer summers. They bloom for 
months and months, brightening the winter and on warm days are especially 
wonderfully fragrant. Also from almost as long ago and blooming now is a 
Narcissus that Bill sent me he said was N. jonquilla and Nancy Wilson 
thought was N. fernandesii. I have some of the latter blooming too from 
seed she donated to Cal Hort and they do look alike. Maybe some of the 
Narcissus fans in our group can look at my pictures on the wiki of N. 
jonquilla and offer an opinion. I have a few other Narcissus blooming in my 
garden, but I think it's mostly too shady.

Other Africans in the Hyacinth family besides Lachenalia blooming are 
Ornithogalum dubium and Veltheimia bracteata. In the Colchicaceae  family I 
have Onixotis stricta in bloom. I was excited to see another species of 
that I was growing from seed was going to bloom for the first time this 
year, but it turned out to be a Wurmbea instead, but that was fine since I 
have wanted to have at least a pot of that.

Long blooming Spiloxene serrata is still blooming and odd Spiloxene 
capensis as well. The pink ones seemed to bloom before the white ones. 
Fritillaria davisii is blooming  and I have some other Frits. in bud. The 
first Ferraria crispa opened this week and drum roll the Scadoxus puniceus 
I got in Pasadena many years ago at the IBS meeting that had not bloomed 
before. The Tecophilaeas are finishing and it was my best year for them. 
Perhaps they liked the dry January? And the tulips are starting, Tulipa 
turkestanica, Tulipa fosteriana, and even a Darwin hybrid.

  In my greenhouse Canarina canariensis is blooming and Tropaeolum 
brachycercas. The latter had been dormant for a couple of years so was 
thrilled it showed up this year. Cyrtanthus mackenii blooms off and on, 
mostly on, all year and is blooming now and Cyrtanthus brachyschaphus is 
starting. Several pots of Phaedranassa have buds about to open. So why am I 
inside in front of a computer I ask myself.

Happy Spring!

Mary Sue

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