perennial bulbs

Uli Urban
Sat, 02 Oct 2010 12:13:00 PDT
Dear All,

I did not fully understand the point about the best perennial bulbs, but
nevertheless, here are my best perennial bulbs:

Snowdrops, galanthus nivalis and its forms and hybrids. if planted in
the right spot, half shade, into the leaf litter of especially Hazel
(Corylus avellana) they are multiplying by themselves.

Eranthis hyemalis, same treatment as snowdrops, produces masses of seed
which takes 2-3 years to reach flowering size, I found the darker yellow
Eranthis cilicicum not perennial.

Cyclamen hederifolium, in flower right now, is of mediterraneann origin
und likes hot summer temperatures. I am always surprised it is fully
hardy here. It is fully dormant in summer, leaves appear with or after
the flowers in autum and last until may. Seed have a sweet appendix
which attracts ants which helps seed dispersal with seedling coming up
around the adult plants and in unexpected places. hamburg new botanical
garden (Klein Flottbeck) has most impressive carpets of Cyclamen
hederifolium under its trees, My garden is not like this, though.....

Muscari, I think the most vigorous one is armeniacum, It may seed but
the main propagation is by offsets, forms very robust big clumps and is
almost evergreen with only a very short dormany in high summer.

Nacissus jacetanus, very dwarf and very early trumpet, from Spain but
not from the mediterranean climate, it is a high meadow plant. I have
one small clump which increased every year and produces fertile seed
which I sow in pots and then plant the seedlings after a few years into
the garden. lives under a semi-deciduus shrub (Choisia Aztec Pearl) dry
in summer but not baking hot.

Tulipa bakeriana 'Lilac Wonder' Tulipa batalinii, are my best tulips but
do not set seed and do not really multiply but they are still there many
years after planting which is very good for my garden.

Dracunculus vulgaris, most impressive 'stinker' does not multiply but
has come back vigorously for many years. Sets a lot of seed (should get
some for the BX) The problem with its seeds probably is that it has a
long dormancy before it germinates and that does not work in the open

Arum italicum 'Pictum' wonderful foliage from autumn to may, bright red
seed heads in late summer. Selfseeds but the seedlings mostly are
inferior in leaf patterns than the parent plant. is mediterranean and
likes hot summers rest. Very hardy here.

Fritillaria imperialis, lasts forever and the clumps become bigger if it
gets plenty of fertilizer and IF LILY BEETLE IS CONTROLLED. Seed is
sometimes set but does not germinate in the garden, I never bothered to
sow it in pots. This is one of the oldest garden bulbs in Germany.

Ornithogalum umbellatum, is almost a weed but I like its white stars
that open wide in sunshine. propagation and spreading by millions of
bulbils. I actually do not have it in my garden because it is too weedy
but aquired another one under the same name which was said not to be
weedy andI think it is a different species, bigger in all parts and
taller than O. umbellatum.

I garden in northern Germany, Zone 7 (but I find the US zones difficult
to apply here) sandy soil, winter with sometimes severe frost, rain all
year dry spelly in summer possible, all in all a moderate maritime
climate with continental influx.

What I can NOT grow in my garden: Hybrid Tulips, Hyacinths, Lilium,
Crocus,  this is due to mice and voles that eat the bulbs, I have some
mouse-proof beds but this seems to be different from the open garden as
they do not grow well in there either. Especially Hyacinths are very
long lasting if not eaten and form big clumps in time. Nacissus tends to
decline on sandy soils but are increasing every year on loamy or clay
soilsand can remain forever in abandoned gardens if not shaded. The
best, i.e. least decreasing ones with me are 'Carlton', 'February Gold'
and obvallaris. TĂȘte-a-TĂȘte is not hardy enough as are all the
mediterranean tazetta type ones. They are commercially grown in Israel
so should do fine in California or other mediterranean climates

Why do you gardeners from hot climates complain? If I were in your
climates...... I would dream to plant all sorts of Hippeastrum, Ismene,
Hymenocallis, Crinum, Gloriosa, Amorphophallus, Begonia, Gesneriads to
name but a few..... What about the tuberous blue tropical waterlilies
that go dormant in winter but hate our cool summers? 

Greetings from a colourful late summer/early autumn in my garden (Nerine
in pots in flower)


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