Undependable Garden Bulbs

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Tue, 06 May 2008 11:17:14 PDT
On 5 May 08, at 22:04, Jane McGary wrote:

> Rodger Whitlock, gardening somewhat north of me in the Pacific
> Northwest, listed as undependable (i.e., difficult or impossible to
> establish) some bulbs I also have trouble with. The big snowflakes
> (the ones still in the genus Leucojum and not transferred to Acis) do
> not flower here though the plants hang on. I attribute this problem to
> a fast-draining mineral soil that I can't keep adequately moist in
> summer.

Oddly enough, dirty ol' commercial from-a-garden-centre Leucojum 
aestivum (maybwe 'Gravetye Giant') does quite well for me. Flowers 
reliably and no signs of grass due to fly attack.

But I *do* garden on a quite heavy soil with a high water table so 
there's always at least a whiff of moisture, even in mid-summer.

This inspires me to pass on some advice for those of you frustrated 
with sharp-draining soils who want to do something about it. Clay 
works, but the trick is to dry it out during the summer, break it up 
into smallish lumps, and broadcast these on the surface in the fall. 
The winter rains will break down the lumps and wash the clay into the 
soil. If you try digging it in, all you end up with is sand with 
lumps of clay in it here and there.

It may also help if you can excavate your beds and put a thick layer 
of old newpapers at the bottom before backfilling with soil.

Back to narcissus fly: I am surprised that no enterprising pesticide 
company has come up with a pheromone attractant. Anybody heard of 
such a thing?

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

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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