Easy Bulbs

J.E. Shields jshields@indy.net
Fri, 02 May 2008 07:20:30 PDT
The remarks about sowing bulb seeds directly in the garden got me to 
thinking.  I have some bulbs that seed around without my having to touch 
the seeds.  The following are all in my woodland garden.

Chionodoxa lucilae (or whatever they are calling it this week) of course is 
notorious for seeding itself all over the place.

Corydalis solida also seeds itself anywhere it is the least bit happy to be 
growing.  I had volunteer hybrids between 'Beth Evans' and 'George P. 
Baker' in bloom this year.  Some were a vivid red, one a rich violet purple 
color.  I really should have marked the purple one.

Corydalis angustifolia 'Georgian White' from Janis Ruksans is also seeding 
itself around.  I'm very pleased to see this happening.  It blooms quite 
early, and it is a nice pure white.

Eranthis cilicica is seeding itself very slowly, but a few stray seedlings 
bloomed this spring.  The original bulbs are gone, as far as I can 
tell.  The Chionodoxa, the Corydalis, and the Eranthis have all finished 
flowering for this year.

Fritillaria pallidifolia seems to have seeded itself a little bit.  They 
are just now finishing up blooming for the year.

Hymenocallis occidentalis seems to have had 2 or 3 seeds survive sometime 
in recent years.  I try to collect all the seeds of this species to grow in 
pots.  The volunteers are not up to flowering size yet, but nothing else 
growing in that area has leaves like the Hymenocallis.  H. occidentalis is 
found native in the southwestern-most tip of Indiana and in southern 
Illinois along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.  It is however very 
gratifying to see a few volunteer seedlings growing around my bloom size 
bulbs of occidentalis here in central Indiana.   These will not bloom until 
around August.

Trillium are native to this area, but T. cuneatum is not.  I seem to have a 
couple seedlings growing not far from my little group of T. cuneatum.  They 
have not gotten up to 3-leaf stage yet, so they are several years from 

Trillium nivale and T. recurvatum are both native to parts of Indiana, so 
it's not surprising that they seem to be seeding around a little bit as 
well.  T. recurvatum is in full bloom right now while nivale bloomed about 
a month ago.

Other local wildflowers seed themselves readily, including Dicentra 
cucullaris (Dutchman's Breeches), Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty), and 
Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's Seal).  I like this.

Several non-native iris species seem to seed themselves around too, 
especially Iris tectorum and Iris setosum.  I haven't tried to figure out 
if any of the volunteers are hybrids, but I wouldn't be surprised if they 
were.  I have not noticed the native Iris cristata seeding itself, but my 
plants have spread into nice patches, and they are in bloom right now.

None of these are so prolific as to suggest they might become invasive.

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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