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Messages - Robert_Parks

Quote from: petershaw on May 17, 2024, 06:16:35 AMI have a lot of pots with lots of young bulbs, most winter growers. They have just recently gone dormant (some are still "growing").

I had hoped to share many of them via the Bulb Ex but I am wondering if this is the right time to divide them? I thought I understood they should be kept undisturbed until mid summer, but I am open to clarification.
I second that. The ones that have dropped leaves generally have mature bulbs, rooty things go to a warm shelf for a time. Generally if the tops are totally dry and done they are OK with lifting. It's a little frustrating with the Lachenalias I am attempting to turf out of the collection, as they skip leaves and flowers but still grow roots (in the absence of a hot summer).

hoping for a sunny day so I can see the rose colored Tritonia squalida.
Current Photographs / Re: Calochortus superbus
May 13, 2024, 05:30:50 PM
There are some populations of Calochortus albus that only bloom for a couple years after a forest fire, then put up a leaf every year or so in the deep shade, very very slowly building up energy storage for the paroxysm of blooming and chance at reproduction.

In less unfavorable locations, they tend to have some sort of bloom synchronization (presumably a weather trigger) so there is a group blooming every several years rather than a yearly dribble. It may be that the cultivated ones aren't getting their trigger satisfied even though the bulb is blooming size.
Current Photographs / Re: May 2024
May 09, 2024, 09:07:36 PM
Quote from: Too Many Plants! on May 09, 2024, 08:52:50 PMVery nice. Loving that Tritonia squalida !
Windows! To go along with some of the Arisaemas.

in pleasant cool San Francisco, where the very last of the summer bulbs are about to get potted up.
Current Photographs / Re: May 2024
May 09, 2024, 05:05:37 PM
A few pretties from the last few days.
Inside - Typhonium circinnatum
Variously outside - deformed Zantedeschia aethiopica, Ornithogalum gracilis, fall color (well, spring color) on Oxalis pardalis, Tritonia squalida, Ixia polystycha, Lachenalia multifolia, and Pelargonium undulata.

 in unseasonally warm San Francisco, 80F/27C, but the wind changed and now it is more normal.
General Discussion / Re: Oxalis crassipes
May 01, 2024, 07:57:33 PM
I have a couple forms, but the nurseries I got them from didn't seem to have them the last time I looked.

in SF, where they are blooming heavily and keeping ahead of the slugs leafwise.
In cool foggy San Francisco, I've had decent success with Babiana, Sparaxis, and Ixia when purchased/delivered in late spring. Mind you I am heat zone 2 and hardiness zone 10a. Berkeley can, of course, be quite a bit warmer.

Anyway, I plant them fairly deep in larger pots, and set the pots in the ground...this keeps the soil relatively cooler, while the tops can enjoy bright sunlight...a light colored top dressing might help. I plant them immediately on arrival. In my conditions they sprout quickly, flower, and eventually go dormant. I lift them and store them warm and then plant them with the rest of the winter bulbs in the fall. The grow on a normal winter cycle thereafter.

Sparaxis tends to run quickly through the cycle, Babiana grows more or less normally well into the summer before going dormant (Mark Twain's quote about the coldest winter was a summer in SF). Ixia, at least the commercial varieties will grow entirely out of season, blooming and growing leaves ignoring the date! For me, I get good bulb increase and copious bulblets from cool summer growing of Ixias. Your results will likely vary if you don't have summer nights averaging 60F or below.

Very few of the big USA bulb importers/sellers ship winter growing bulbs appropriately, shipping late in the fall, or even in the spring. Heck, they mostly don't even ship fall blooming crocus or colchicum appropriately. The few specialist mediterranean bulb sellers ship appropriately, but they generally don't carry the cheap commonly available garden hybrids. One of the better ways of getting them is haunting the local garden centers/nurseries and snatching up the mediterranean bulbs early (usually well before retail mail order ships). And, of course, as a member of PBS, the summer Bulb Exchanges lean heavily towards winter growers.

in cool San Francisco, where the great dormancy race is beginning
Current Photographs / Re: April 2024
April 12, 2024, 09:17:47 AM
Quote from: Robin Jangle on April 12, 2024, 08:07:01 AM@Robert_Parks please check the filaments - in dubia they are free, maculata is united for a bit (under a third) and what was known as maculata var fuscocitrina is united up to halfway - it is now known as arctotioides. Your plant looks like arctotioides!
Thanks for the advice, it is always a struggle to get cultivated plants properly labeled. Of course, not one of the pictures on my phone helps, so I'll have to take a look when I get home. It happens to be the earliest Ixia this year, but that could be dependent on many factors.

Brisk (for San Francisco) with a moderate breeze, a last storm is due this evening. 
Current Photographs / Re: April 2024
April 11, 2024, 02:12:39 PM
Quote from: Too Many Plants! on April 11, 2024, 08:57:54 AMFantastic Robert! I have B Odorata about to bloom, and I once upon a time had Ixia Viridiflora, but unlike most Ixia I have planted it did not stick around!
Ixias are mostly very happy with me, other than I have to plant them in gopher baskets...and if they aren't in clumps the wind sometime pushes them over. I. viridiflora has strong intermittent seed dormancy, so I still get volunteers from one pot of recycled soil...I guess I could do a lot worse than having more greenish blue flowers 18 months from germination.
Current Photographs / Re: April 2024
April 10, 2024, 11:10:32 PM
A few recents:

Ixia dubia better than any of the commercial yellow Ixias, foliage fairly broad.

Hesperantha bachmannii, delicate and perfect.

Bulbine mesembryanthemoides, tiny flowers, but insanely complicated.

Babiana odorata or similar.

Ixia viridiflora, I'm sorry if it shows up as a vivid sea blue (maybe just this monitor) is a delicate greenish blue in person.

Coelogyne cristata, OK, not a geophyte, but it hangs out with them and requires chilling to bloom well.

Elsewhere in the garden, Bomarea are blooming variously, and there are still a few Arums pushing up flowers.

Actual springlike conditions in San Francisco at the moment
Notes on my contribution. If you want further information on sources, contact me directly (
52. Adenium obesum - seedlings
Amorphophallus, Arisaema are mostly small divisions, although there are a few medium sized items
83. Begonia sutherlandii - stem bulbils
84. Colocasia X Pharaoh's Mask - not happy with my conditions, offsets seasily
85. Furcrea foetida variegata (Agave?)    inflorescence bulbils, raining on the sidewalk from the huge inflorescence.
86. Gloxinia nematanthodes 'Evita'- if I had year round rain, I think it could get annoying
87. Gorgonidium intermedium - happy with cooler conditions
88. Igidia volubilis RP1 - summer grower
89. Igidia volubilis RP2 - summer grower
90. Impatiens flanaganae - winter storage best in soil (slight moisture)                                                       
Ixias are from a huge excess of my bulbs, if they are planted now, they will grow into the summer with irrigation, reverting to normal winter growth next winter.
Lachenalias don't satisfy their summer dormancy for me, so these have been dormant for 1-2 years
100. Maranta ruiziana - supposedly edible, wants warmer conditions
Oca/Oxalis tuberosa, one of the Andean tuber crops, prefers cooler, moist conditions in the summer, tubers develop after the fall equinox, harvest around Thanksgiving (USA), large scrambling plant
111. Sauromatum horsfieldii Lancelot - tiny tuber divisions
115. Sinningia tubiflora - wants warmer summers
Mashua/Tropaeolum tuberosum, one of the Andean tuber crops, prefers cooler conditions in the summer, tubers develop in the fall, harvest around Thanksgiving (USA), very vigorous vine to 15 feet on trellis
120. Typhonium rhizomatosum - thin rhizomes, will develop typical tubers over the summer
Ulluco/Ullucus tuberosus, one of the Andean tuber crops, prefers cooler conditions in the summer, tubers develop in the fall, plants are smaller and floppy, brittle stems.
123. Ullucus tuberosus wild form Ulluco - probably not truly a wild form, vigorous, with larger leaves, and impressively long droppers (3+ feet).
The first one looks like Gladiolus trichonemifolius, and the second Glad looks like alatus (or one of the lookalikes). Alatus is quite happy with out coastal climate.
Current Photographs / Re: April 2024
April 02, 2024, 06:06:33 PM
Quote from: Too Many Plants! on April 02, 2024, 02:03:48 PMI believe this is my first flowering for these Albuca Namaquensis.
Just showing the flowers, the plants had lovely storms of fine leaves, but the slugs mowed them down.

in clement San Francisco, where the weird veggie tubers are pretty much out, and the (mostly) aroids are ready to go.
General Discussion / Re: Bulb EX Harvest Timing
March 27, 2024, 06:33:16 AM
Pretty much...which can get frustrating in our climate, where many summer growers are already in growth, but it does mean that shipping is safer across the country.

I didn't do a personal winter distribution because I never got a break when I had time.

still with no time between the summer and winter gardens.
General Discussion / Re: Tuberous Impatiens
March 27, 2024, 06:28:38 AM
Quote from: MLoos on March 21, 2024, 05:15:28 AMHello All,

I'm looking to purchase or trade for tuberous and/or perennial Impatiens species.  Seeds would be Ok too. 
I. tinctoria is available from time to time in the trade (Annies Annuals for one).

I was distributing some I. insignis last fall, but got busy, and they are still sitting around dug up...should get that going again.

I. flanaganae is sprouting now, probably could still be shipped. Also available intermittently on eBay.

still filling the planters for Andean tubers, except it is starting to rain...the aroids are getting impatient.
Current Photographs / Re: February 2024
February 22, 2024, 08:24:09 PM
Quote from: Martin Bohnet on February 21, 2024, 10:41:14 PMLast two show a "long term project" - I actually bought Corybas incurvus before Brexit in fall 2019, and now almost lost that very first flower to a slug - in the greenhouse! Anyway, I really think this tops the Pterostylis with which it shares growing conditions both in tininess and bizarrity, close to a miniature Nintendo Piranha plant. By the way that's not Orchid Seramis, that's the normal thing...
I'm creating a festoon of little hanging baskets for the most heavily and persistently slug attacked miniature geophytes.