Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Wed, 25 Jun 2008 15:15:54 PDT
Jim McKenney wrote:
>Ixiolirion is one of those plants whose ubiquity (in catalogs at least) and
>low price cause prospective growers to take less than seriously. Allium
>caeruleum is another one.
>I have no idea how these behave in other climates, but under my conditions
>many bulbs, and these two in particular, need to mature into drought.

I also have not been able to keep Ixiollirion in the garden. I thought 
perhaps it was winter wet that did it in, since I had it in a section that 
is not watered in summer, when it rarely rains here. Allium caeruleum, 
however, is a permanent plant in the garden here.

There are many bulbs that can be multiplied easily and grown to flowering 
size under the controlled conditions of the Dutch bulb industry but that 
are not easy to maintain in the conditions typical of the temperate-climate 
garden. Many of these species seem to do best in North America when grown 
in the severe-winter regions of the US northeast and eastern Canada, 
suggesting that a strict regime of winter dormancy under snow suits them. 
They don't get this in Holland, but there they have very deep sand and can 
be kept in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage and planted at an 
optimal time so that they will emerge at a time when they're least likely 
to be damaged by weather. They may also be treated with pesticides, 
fungicides, and heat to restrict the activity of pathogens; viruses, in 
particular, can become more active when the bulb enters the more stressful 
environment of the garden.

With experience we learn which commercial bulbs can be "naturalized" as the 
bulb catalogs say, and which must be treated as annual bedders. Only 
experimentation in every garden with its micro-habitats will give us the 

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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