Thanks to Jim McKenney for pointing out the usefulness of plants in the Themidaceae (the "brodiaeas," formerly Alliaceae, before that Liliaceae) at this time of year. This is truly the time of western American bulbs: themids, Calochortus, and Allium. Many of them flower long after the leaves emerge, sometimes even after the leaves wither. Almost all the themids are long-stemmed in habit, growing in nature among grasses and shrubs (one, Dichelostemma volubile, even twines to climb shrubs). I wonder why so many late-flowering bulbs have evolved in this region? Some are hummingbird-pollinated -- Dichelostemma ida-maia probably exclusively by birds. Bloomeria crocea, which Jim praised, is best appreciated when the plant has been established for some years, as the inflorescence gets larger with age (the "bulb" is a corm in all the themids). Triteleia ixioides, another one with yellow flowers, is quite variable over its large range; some I grew from seed I collected in Monterey County, CA, have very large inflorescences. I'm also enjoying a commercial Dutch selection, Triteleia 'Rudy' (not sure whether it's a selection of T. laxa or a hybrid), in which the usual median stripes are very pronounced; it increases well in a dry spot. I'd also recommend Triteleia peduncularis, which has white, lavender-flushed flowers on extremely long, slender pedicels. The attenuated visual quality of the inflorescence means it's not showy in the garden, but looked at closely it demands attention. It is hardy to at least the mid-teens F. All of these plants are easily grown from stored seeds, usually flowering the third year from sowing. Telos Rare Bulbs also sells corms of many. Jane McGary Portland, Oregon, USA At 06:15 AM 6/16/2014, you wrote: >It's themid season here in Maryland, and this year one in particular >stands out as a really neat plant: that's Bloomeria crocea. I >mistakenly thought it would be just another take on Triteleia >ixioides, but I like it a lot more. The umbel is about six inches in >diameter, and the largest of the nearly thirty flowers is a bit over >an inch in diameter. To my tastes, it does the yellow flowering >onion thing better than any yellow allium I know. It's a keeper! > >The forms of Brodiaea californica with big flowers on long pedicels >are neat, especially the pink ones.