What's blooming week of 16 January

AW awilson@avonia.com
Tue, 17 Jan 2012 20:44:48 PST
Mary Sue,

In a dry winter such as you seem to be having this year on the north west
coast, it seems that the dryness has been beneficial in some ways for you. I
do not refer to the effects of birds and chipmunks that are perennial
predators of bulbs, but to the fine selection of species you have in bloom
in mid-January. Is this primarily a result of a drier than normal winter?

From communications here (i.e. at this site) in October it seems that in
northern California you start the fall bulb season well over a month earlier
than we (certainly I) do in southern California. The reason for that, I was
told either by Mike Mace or yourself, was that the autumn rains spoil some
of the bulbs, notably Oxalis species, and that to avoid this you start them
in mid-August so that they have completed most of the blooming before the
rains come. (Further south, with hot weather likely through October I rarely
see early rains and do not start bulbs until mid- or late September.) Due to
the dryness you have experienced this year, you are seeing blooms that would
normally have been damaged by rain persist until January. Meanwhile, the
drier, warmer conditions are bringing out springtime species of Moraea,
Chasmanthe, etc.  For them, the earlier start was not responsible for the
earlier blooming. 

Is that a fair explanation of what you've reported?

San Diego


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