Maryland update

Jim McKenney
Mon, 11 Feb 2008 17:52:05 PST
Jane McGary wondered about the conditions here in Maryland which might have
prompted my Tecophilaea cyanocrocus to bloom early. 

I think we can confidently rule out summer moisture: my plants get no water
from the time they die down until sometime in the fall when I begin to water
them again. 

It's that "sometime" which is probably the answer. Because of the odd
weather we experienced last fall, I did not begin to water the bulbs in my
protected frame until sometime well into November. As a consequence (or so
it seems to me) everything in that frame is comparatively late this year. 

Now on to a related topic. Last year I purchased a bulb of what I think of
as "Lycoris aurea of commerce". I'm not sure what this really is. Many years
ago I grew it as a pot plant and when it bloomed I decided it was L.
traubii. The plant I have now has foliage which is distinctly on the yellow
side of green. The plants grown years ago had very dark green foliage. So
I'm wondering what I have this time. So far, the foliage has taken the
winter well and shows no sign of distress. This plant was planted into the
soil which forms the floor of the cold frame. 

And here's something else again: while tidying up the garden last week, I
was struck by the really handsome effect the foliage of Sternbergia lutea
makes at this time of year. There is a planting of this species in the
garden here about thirty feet long, and the foliage is very attractive, one
of the handsomest things in the garden now. 

Several of the western North American frits now have foliage rosettes up
above ground. This year I have them in a cold frame out in the garden - this
frame is not at all protected, and these frits seem later this year than
they were last year when they grew in the protected cold frame. In fact, at
this time last year, a half-dozen of the frits growing in the protected
frame had flower buds above ground. This year things are going much more

Gelasine elongate (received as azurea), Calydorea xiphioides, Watsonia
humilis, Freesia viridis and - this is a big surprise to me - Zephyranthes
grandiflora have all kept good foliage all winter so far in the protected
frame. Talk about microclimate...

Out in the open garden, a 40+ year old planting of Iris reticulata has
foliage up. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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