Mislabelled Dutch Bulbs

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:36:16 PDT
On 16 Jul 08, at 12:42, Adam Fikso wrote:

> Some of this is perhaps not accidental.  I understand it  to be  part of the
> some Dutch bulb growers' efforts to control the market

There have been complaints about mislablled Dutch bulbs since their businesses 
revived after World War II — a good 60 years now.

My experiences suggest the mislabelling is done knowingly: if you buy a purple 
or blue crocus, you will get a crocus in the same general color range, but if 
the crop was poor or demand high, you may discover the pestiferous C. 
tommasinianus has become yours instead of whatever you wanted.

This dishonesty (for no other word is right) extends also to the health of the 
plants. The little Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' is sold in enormous quantities -- 
and afaik they are one and all virused. I've read that no clean strain of Tete 
a Tete exists.

Reticulata irises are often infected with ink spot disease: just look for black 
lesions on the surface of the bulb under the tunic. The Dutch growers *control* 
the disease by using powerful fungicides, but this does not eliminate it. For 
this reason, if I buy reticulata irises, any lesions I find are removed 
surgically and the wounds dusted with sulfur, following which the bulbs are pot-
grown for a year or two, with further inspections for disease each summer 
before repotting.

So far I have succeeded in keeping my garden clear of ink spot disease, but 
mainly by simply not buying any reticulatas at all.

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

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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