Fritillaria Raddeana Question

Jim McKenney
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 05:21:59 PDT
Peter wrote: "I am suggesting that a domestic refrigerator  -39 degrees Fahrenheit (4degrees C), is too cold for the summer storage of winter growing bulbs (if
they are to grow naturally and in character)."

And I agree. 

But all gardening is local. Peter, you garden about a thousand miles north of my garden; you garden in what from my perspective is a cold climate which "never" warms up in the summer. 
When I wrote about planting bulbs of Fritillaria imperialis in late August, I was thinking about the bulbs I have here in my basement; these bulbs were wrapped in paper and stored on a shelf; they are now producing long roots which dangle out in the air. I've got to do something soon: the roots will dry in the open air, and the ground here is still too warm and wet to safely plant them. Or so I think.

Here's another aspect of this issue: in my garden, Eranthis hyemalis typically ripens its seeds around April 28 - that's the date on which I typically begin to check them for ripe seeds. The above ground parts of the plant are gone within a week of that. The foliage of most of the late-winter and spring flowering bulbs dies down here during May (a very wet month here and one which is no friend to the bulb grower and certainly no friend to those bulbs which, as the old bulb growers liked to say, want to mature into a drought. By the end of May, there is little sign above ground here of most of these bulbs. This includes fritillaries - by the end of May no one would guess that you had them in the garden. 

Little wonder American tourists in Scotland seeing peonies blooming in early July marvel at the gardens. The peonies at home bloomed a month or a month and a half before that. 

Now back to the time period I was talking about, late August. By late August, summer dormant bulbs in our climate have not only been dormant for nearly three months but, if they are the sort of bulbs which respond to a drop in soil temperatures to initiate root growth,  probably will not resume root growth for another month or even month and a half.  Contrast that to the the likelihood that tulips in much of the UK are probably not dug until well into June, if that, and thus by late August are in a much earlier state of development. Such are the bulbs you rightly say should not be put immediately into cold storage. 

But I think a bulb which has been dormant for nearly three months is a different proposition. 

Jim McKenney

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