Bulbs, for a change

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 16 Nov 2007 13:13:45 PST
Dear all,

I didn't answer Jim Waddick's last request for blooms in the garden because 
I ran out of time. I actually made a list which was the enjoyable part, but 
it never got it translated to the computer in a post so I see he has 
presented another opportunity. In Northern California this time of year is 
the continuation of the wake up period when bulbs are emerging and some of 
them are starting to flower. It's a very exciting time as you see old 
favorites returning and sometimes the buds forming on something that has 
never bloomed before that you have grown from seed. We have had a number of 
warm sunny days although that is supposed to be changing and adequate fall 
rainfall so there are bulbs blooming to inspire. And of course California 
counts. I don't have the abundance of summer blooming bulbs that some of 
the rest of you have.

This is the time of year when the Velthemia bracteata leaves are luxuriant 
and shiny and you can't resist peering down the middle to see if they look 
like they are forming a bud.

Oxalis continue to be a dazzling addition of color. On the warm days they 
are just amazing. Ones in bloom now are Oxalis imbricata (thanks to the 
BX), Oxalis hirta, Oxalis bowiei, several forms of Oxalis luteola, the 
first Oxalis purpurea, Oxalis versicolor, O. glabra, O. polyphylla 
heptaphylla, O. convexula, and O. lobata (I think Chris said this in now O. 
peridicaria , but I haven't changed the name on my tag.) It's a long 
blooming South American with bright yellow flowers.

I have my first Romulea of the season in bloom, R. hallii. This species has 
intricate markings and is a treat since it blooms earlier and therefore has 
no competition from the other species. And there is one bloom of Freesia 
fucata, a fragrant white species that doesn't bloom reliably for me. 
Lachenalia rubida continues to bloom and yesterday I saw the first buds of 
the turquoise L. viridiflora. I continue to have Crocus in bloom: Crocus 
laevigatus, C. ochroleucus, C. niveus, and C. goulimyi. Last week I added a 
picture to the wiki my husband took of Crocus niveus being pollinated. 
Moraea polystachya which blooms for me for three or four months in the fall 
until it is finally taken out by the rain and cold is blooming in several 
locations. The Nerines are finishing, but I still have N. pudica in bloom 
growing in the ground and a hybrid I received from Jim Robinett blooming in 
the ground as well. Last week I added a picture of N. pudica blooming now 
to the wiki. Interestingly I have a difficult time getting N. bowdenii to 
bloom, but it doesn't matter so much since others do well.

Starting in August I have Cyclamen in bloom until late spring. Right now 
there is at least one representative of C. cilicum, C. coum, C. 
hederifolium and C. mirabile in bloom. Fall is the time for Polyxena and 
Massonia. Polyxena longituba is finishing, but I still have P. ensifolia 
and P. pygmaea (name I still recognize) in bloom and P. paucifolia has buds 
for the first time. My plants of the latter look more like you'd expect 
from a name like that than Bill Dijk's picture on the wiki.  The first 
Massonias are starting to bloom. I love their leaves as they appear and 
extend. The first to bloom this year are M. jasminflora and M. pustulata.

I was surprised to see something sending up a stalk in a pot labeled 
Lapeirousia. I was suspicious since I have a terrible time growing any of 
them although I keep trying and it was the wrong time of year for the 
species to flower. It turns out to be Gladiolus priorii which I thought I 
had lost so that was a nice surprise. And fingers crossed I think there may 
be one Gladiolus dalenii in the ground that is going to flower.

In the greenhouse both of my Haemanthus deformis are starting to flower. 
This species has enormous leaves and beautiful white flowers. There is also 
a first time bud on H. pauculifolius. Also in the greenhouse the first buds 
of Canarina canariensis are forming. Cyrtanthus mackenii repotted after I 
tossed the bulbs that had Narcissus fly larvae in them several months ago 
are now in bloom again.

I have several pots of Narcissus cantabricus in bloom at the moment. I love 
the early Narcissus that are often in bloom during the holidays.

Bulbine alooides is in bloom. I'm not sure why since it doesn't usually 
bloom this time of the year. Perhaps I confused it by watering at the wrong 
time. Orthosanthus
chimboracensis  which I have growing in my garden in several places is in 
bloom. It blooms off and on all year. It's a central American species so 
it's surprising that it is so easy in my different climate.

The most exciting thing of all however is a bud forming on Brunsvigia 
grandiflora. I've only ever had one other Brunsvigia to flower although 
some of the ones look like they would be big enough to bloom. All the ones 
I have were grown from seed and this one is growing in a pot I put in the 
ground. It  gets rained on in winter and some water in summer. I never 
really expected it would ever bloom so it was a thrill. This is a species 
that Rhoda and Cameron gave me a lot of seeds to share with this group and 
I'm curious how everyone else has done with the seeds that they got.

So Jim are you inspired?

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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