Late fall in Maryland

Jane McGary
Sun, 13 Dec 2009 11:56:40 PST
Some comments on Jim's latest post:

>I notice that I have another somewhat similar Narcissus under the name
>Narcissus cantabricus foliosus. The two are sometimes said to be
>distinguished by the extent to which the style does or does not project
>beyond the corona (cup) of the flower.

I have long suspected that the two forms of Narcissus cantabricus 
grown under the subspecies names "foliosus" and "monophyllus" 
("leafy" and "single-leafed" respectively) have become so mixed in 
horticulture that much of the stock we have is no longer 
distinguishable as one or the other. I have a number of different 
accessions (or I did, until they probably froze to death last week) 
that tended to flower at different times,  but other than that they 
are hard to distinguish.

 >The big excitement here this winter is a trial of some of the Chilean
>Tropaeolum. These were planted in the autumn of 2008; none sprouted the
>first year. I checked the corms a few months ago, and all seemed well. But
>this year only one has sprouted, and it is quickly  making a tangle of
>growth. I'm so tempted to check what's going on underground with the other
>two, but for now I'll be patient.

I probably lost all these too, but will say that the tuber (not corm) 
can persist for more than a year without making growth at all, 
probably an adaptation to severe drought in its homeland. Mine have 
often skipped a year in spite of adequate water.

 >Bulb fly nearly exterminated my stock of Sternbergia greuteriana two years
>ago. I'm happy to see that the surviving bits are putting up good if small

Sternbergias seem to be more attractive to this pest than any other 
genus. Several years ago I started covering the plants with Reemay 
before the bulb fly emergence period, and in the garden I just 
troweled sand over the lower part of their foliage as soon as it 
started to go over (this is before the flies emerge). This seems to 
have been effective in preventing further losses and I recommend the 

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA
Freezing rain last night

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