Mary Sue Ittner

My garden is located in coastal Mendocino County, California. I live at about 840 feet (256 meters) with a distant view of the Pacific Ocean. My climate is a Mediterranean one with rain starting in the fall, building in the winter and tapering off in spring. Summers are completely dry. Temperatures in winter occasionally get below freezing, but not usually much below. Average rainfall used to be 64 inches (about 1625 mm) but in El Nino years it has been much higher and the eight year average is now about ten inches less. Summer temperatures are moderate, with only occasional hot days in a row almost always followed by coastal fog that cools things off. Evenings are cool. It can be very windy, especially in spring and summer, which makes our part of the coast less foggy.

Our property was once mixed evergreen forest and we retain a lot of trees including Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwoods). Native soil is very low in nutrients, mostly decomposed sandstone.

Geophytes are grown in the ground in my garden, in raised beds built just for them that are not watered in summer, and in containers on benches in a structure that is covered on the top and open on the sides to limit the direct rain that some of the bulbs that are from drier areas would get in my wetter environment. They are also grown in containers on uncovered benches, in my greenhouse, and wherever else I can find for them to be. Most of the bulbs I grow are from Mediterranean climates and are therefore dormant in summer. I grow a lot of native bulbs from California and a lot of bulbs from South Africa and thanks to many seed exchanges and swapping from friends a lot of other things as well.

My husband, Bob Rutemoeller, and I have added many pictures to the wiki of bulbs I grow and ones we have seen in the wild. For more than ten years I served as an administrator for the pbs list and was a founding and ongoing administrator for the pbs wiki. I'm an active volunteer in my community, and enjoy hiking locally and seeing plants in the wild. Here is an old picture of my husband and me hiking in the Lake District, England, in 2004 with Hyacinthoides non-scripta in the background.

I can be reached at msittner at

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Page last modified on February 27, 2013, at 11:54 AM