What's flowering this week January 28

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:35:59 PST
It's time for even those who live in non-banana-growing climates to 
notice the advent of "spring" (or "late winter") bulbs. Here in 
Portland, Oregon, we've just had a 10-day period when the temperature 
at lower elevations rarely climbed above freezing (there was an 
inversion, and temperatures in the mid elevations of the mountains 
were much warmer). Not much seems to have been damaged in my garden, 
though, and even the germinating seedlings in the potting shed are 
active again, despite having been cold enough for the tops of the 
pots to freeze stiff (they're mostly Central Asian this year). 
Cyclamen coum 'Urfa Strain' in the garden held onto its flowers that 
had opened at Christmas, and the other C. coum groups are raising 
their buds. The earliest snowdrops ('Dionysus' and 'Oluna's Mother') 
are opening in the garden, and Galanthus fosteri in the bulb house. 
The first of the crocuses growing in turf have opened, and prove to 
be Crocus rujanensis; apparently a few seedlings of it (it sets seed 
readily) were in between the pots in the old bulb frames and got 
mixed into the miscellaneous baskets of bulbs I laid down before 
replacing the sod. Puschkinia scilloides has opened the first of its 
pretty pale blue flowers between the cyclamen patches.

In the bulb house, which has a roof but open sides, Narcissus 
cantabricus has been in full bloom since late December; after the 
coldest frozen nights some of its stems drooped, but they're back 
upright now. There are some of its hybrids too, salvaged from the old 
frames and showing their mixed parentage (N. romieuxii and/or the 
earliest N. bulbocodium subspecies) in their pale yellow shades. N. 
romieuxii itself is starting up, and N. bulbocodium ssp. pallidus and 
ssp. praecox. These are all excellent container plants, their bulbs 
being quite small and tolerant of crowding, so anyone who can protect 
them from temperatures below about 20 degrees F would enjoy having 
some. All are easily and quickly flowered from seed, and also I'll 
try to get some surplus bulbs to the BX next summer.

The small-growing midwinter colchicums are appearing: Colchicum 
hungaricum in several forms, including the bright white 'Velebit 
Star'; C. turcicum and C. doerfleri, similar small species; C. 
munzurense, pale pink and very little; and C. trigynum, short and 
white. Hyacinthella species are showing their dark blue buds -- 
another little container subject, if you can find seed. The first 
"thog" is Ornithogalum lanceolatum, with broad leaves and its flowers 
right at ground level. Crocuses that have opened thus far include 
Crocus michelsonii, white flushed with blue-lavender; C. sieheanus, 
bright gold; C. rujanensis, mid lavender and of good size; and C. 
laevigatus, a holdover from December still producing blooms. And as 
always, Iris stenophylla shows some color before January is quite 
over; it is a very small Juno with two subspecies, of which ssp. 
allisonii flowers here about 2 weeks before ssp. stenophylla.

Many seeds arrived in fall and got sown when I prefer to do so, but 
now the NARGS seeds and a Chadwell expedition share have arrived, and 
those requiring moist chilling need to be sown this week. We still 
have two months of real winter (or at least as real as it gets in 
Portland) before us. Some of North America is being talked about for 
its deep freezes, but after spending 12 years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 
I'm rather bemused to see that minus 20 F gets into the national news.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list