N. cantabricus flos.

MATT MATTUS mmattus@charter.net
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:49:24 PST
Here in central Massachusetts, one hor west of Boston in the snow belt of
Worcester County, I too cannot grow N. cantabricus and related forms
outside, but in the cold glass house, they have been quite easy for me.

Narcissus watieri and N. rupicula won't bloom for me unless they are
outside, and seem to do well in the raised stone bed along the western
foundation of the greenhouse which acts as both an alpine bed and bulb bed.
It is generally covered all winter with at least two feet of snow, since the
snow slides off of the greenhouse roof every time it snows, and I think it
keeps the ground from freezing deeply, if at all.

In the greenhouse, I keep many pots of Narcissus species, mostly the clan
and confusing relatives of N romieuxii, N. cantabricus (albidus, zaianicaus,
etc). Most are either from seed from the various exchanges, or from shared
lot from others. I first became interested after seeing Ian Youngs
collection during a NARGS dinner, and later, he shared seeds with me and
encouraged to to just 'jump in' because he said, "it's easy". For whatever
reason, for me, it was. Then, thanks to nearby NARGS guru Roy Herold, who
one summer called me up as asked if I would like to trade some bulbs since
he was repotting his collection, I suddenly had a full collection. ( which
he recently reminded me that I need to re-share back with him, since he lost
some of his). Sharing is a good thing.

I find these winter blooming species so rewarding, and easy, but of course,
you need the right environment for them. My glass house is cold, 40-45
Degree F in the winter, and single glass, so it gets strong sunlight during
the short days of winter, and I have high shelves, where the bulbs can spend
the summer hot, dry and baking.

 They start blooming around Christmas with the N. cantabricus ssp.
folioisus, and then many N. romieuxii species and sub species.  I have so
many, that I have to use Harold;s excel spreadsheet he gave me, to look up
the numbers. To make matters worse, I am not as organized as he is, and I
usually save seed, and then simply pot it fresh, quickly scribbling out a
tag that says something like 'N. Romiuxii December 07 seed-mine. It doesn;t
seem to make sense labeling it with more detail, since on warm days, my
honey bees find their way in when the vents open, even if there is snow on
the ground.. The fragrance must be too much, and they can't help themselves.

They seem to bloom in three to four years for me, and with bulbs selling for
nearly 10 - 20 US dollars each, a couple of seed pods yields a hundred seeds
or so. One needs a full pot, for a decent display.

Also, right now, I do have the green flowered autumn species N. viridiflora
in bloom, which has never set seed for me, but which has divided nicely from
3 bulbs into 7 over the past two years.

Matt Mattus
Worcester, MA


On 11/16/08 7:33 AM, "J.E. Shields" <jshields@indy.net> wrote:

> Hi all,
> Here in central Indiana, USDA cold zone 5, I've not had good luck with the
> Narcissus cantabricus forms I've raised from seed.  They do not survive at
> all outdoors in the ground, and in the cool greenhouse they dwindle away,
> almost never blooming.
> N. calcicola, N. rupicola, N. assoanus, and N. fernandesii have survived in
> the raised bed rock garden for several years.  Only N. calcicola and N.
> fernandesii still survive, and only calcicola blooms now.  None of these
> did well in pots in the cool greenhouse!
> N. bulbocodium conspicuus and N. b. nivalis survive outdoors in the ground
> in regular flower beds, but I think only conspicuus is still blooming each
> spring.
> Jim Shields
> in chilly, rainy central Indiana (USA)
> *************************************************
> 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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