Cold winter miscellany

James Waddick
Sun, 06 Dec 2009 15:32:35 PST
Dear All,
	The temps are dropping (single digits in the forecast) and a 
winter storm warning was just announced with rain turning to sleet 
and snow. Joy.

	But a few bright spots:

Cyrtanthus brachyscyphus
	I was lucky enough to get some small bulbs of Cyrtanthus 
brachyscyphus from BX # 189 10/27/08. Thanks Mary Sue.
	I was sort of shocked to get a handful of tiny bulbs.  I 
potted them into 2 community gallon pots. Most of them seem to grow 
and I noticed one showing a bloom spike with bright orange buds. No 
color was given, but the wiki shows an orange scarlet flower. 2 
others are showing just emerging stems with buds. There's a total of 
15 growing heads. I anticipate even more flowers and much appreciated 
in the cold dreary days to come.

Moraea polystachya
	I have tried this in various spots for years. I planted a few 
outdoors very close to the foundation in a south facing spot and even 
had a couple survive and bloom in very inopportune times of the year. 
They were never strong and dwindled. Seedlings in pots seemed weak. I 
must have recycled the soil in these old pots for two pots in the 
greenhouse are sporting blooming stems of this species.  Both plants 
are small, but have had numerous flowers over a period of a couple of 
weeks. Lovely purple iris like flowers with showy yellow signals on 
each of the falls. Looks more like the first and last pix on the wiki 
	It is a lovely item and I wish I could grow it better on 
purpose and get consistently good flowering on healthy looking 
plants. Drat. I guess I need to appreciate these wayward flowering 

Clivia miniata
	A couple plants seems to be showing the first signs of flower 
stalks. Seems way too early.

Cryptostephanus vansonii
	A recent inquiry reminded me. This summer my 'pink' form 
bloom. I tried hand pollination - selfing and am glad to seed a good 
size head of seeds developing. I seem to recall that each capsule can 
have only 1 or 2 seeds each like Clivia and like Clivia the seeds 
take months to a year to ripen fully. Any substantiation? It has been 
a while since I have seeds developing.

Narcissus 'Cedric Morris'
	In full bloom outside, at least a month or 6 weeks earlier 
than its usual 'early bloom'. We've put a clear plastic bell over it 
to keep rabbits from enjoying it - or at least chewing stems off. 
This seems impervious to our tough weather.

	Thanks to the generosity of PBS list members and the BX, I 
have accumulated a small collection of species and cvs. I won't 
report in full here, but there are definitely some worth growing 
under my conditions and some barely worth pot space.  A real mix of 
things. The two most worthy of mention now are the very reliable and 
charming O. versicolor and O. bowei.
	This is the third bloom season for O. versicolor and it 
continues to get better. It has small flowers, but in serious 
abundance. The pink/red peppermint stripes are not terribly showy, 
but have a definite charm and the mass is impressive. The foliage is 
also small and lacy. It has been easy to grow and keep going under my 
less than devoted care.
	O. bowei is a new plant here in its first bloom season. It is 
like any of many weedy pink flowered 'shamrock' Oxalis except on 
'steroids'. Both the foliage and flowers are distinctly BIG. It has 
sent up a lot of flower spikes and the large bright pink flowers make 
a strong showing. The foliage is big, bright green and almost 
lettuce-like. I suspect that once the flowers are gone this large 
foliage may be a bit much, but it sets off the flower spikes that 
bloom well above the foliage.

	Of course I am anticipating spring, but realistically expect 
another 4 months of dark skies and lots of cold, ice and snow.

			Best 		Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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