Show posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Show posts Menu

Topics - David Pilling

The first 19 volumes of "The Bulb Garden", newsletter of the Pacific Bulb Society are available online for free download.

New is a page giving the contents of all issues, this makes it easier to discover things of interest. You can find the contents here:

Downloads are linked to the contents. A table showing all the downloads is here:

Volumes 18 and 19 have been added recently. In addition volume 2 issue 4 was missing, thanks to Bob Rutemoeller for scanning it for me.

If you know of any other missing issues, let me know.
General Off-Topic / Smart Phone User Feedback Needed
December 03, 2023, 09:34:45 AM
I am trying to improve the user experience of the PBS online estate for phone users. At the moment I have "responsive tables" set up on the PBS wiki. They scroll side to side when the screen is small.

Feel free to offer comments about this or any other phone related matters.

Here's a PBS wiki page with a table on:

General Plants and Gardening / Cheerio Wilko
September 11, 2023, 06:28:50 AM
"Wilko (Wilkinson) is a British high-street retail chain which sells homewares and household goods."

Today all hope of saving the chain has been lost and all 400 stores will close. Wilko sold a huge amount of gardening material, tools, seeds, compost, greenhouses, seed trays and plants.

In particular they sold bulbs, and boasted of having used the same Dutch supplier for 60 years. Some years there were enormous quantities of bulbs which they'd sell off at low prices at the end of the season.

What interests me, is that the business has been in administration for a month, suppliers would not allow new stock to get into their hands. Wilko would typically have lots of bulbs of their own specification and packaging. Where have those bulbs gone?

One Wilko bulb even made it on to the PBS Forum:

So it may be that if you're in Europe you'll find "blue parrot" tulips appearing in Aldi or Lidl.

It's a bit like Woolworth (UK version) (which went bust in 2008) if you could you'd find that a large proportion of the plants still in gardens in the UK originated from Woolworth.
Current Photographs / August 2023 photos
August 10, 2023, 05:22:11 PM
Sche - her - a - zade

The PBS wiki consists of 1000's of text entries describing plants. These have been laboriously written by hand - most of them by Mary Sue Ittner, although many others have been involved. I have always found this difficult, just like writing essays at school on subjects I was not familiar with.

The latest wiki entry is for Chlorogalum grandiflorum:

I got Google 'bard' to write the text, and I am very proud of the result. It took me no time at all and it is much better English than anything I could usually have done.

The problem is that I have no idea if the material is correct and by now it will have been indexed by Google and will shortly be fed back into 'bard' etc.

We could see if we can stop the wiki contents being used to train AI, or we could decide to not use AI when adding stuff to the wiki. Not that it will make any difference...

General Discussion / Who Knew?
March 08, 2023, 04:09:37 AM
A thread in which we tell people what we didn't know...

Cornell have a flower bulb research program, along with a website with articles and videos
General Plants and Gardening / B&T World Seeds
February 20, 2023, 08:52:13 AM
Quoting Dave's Garden "B&T went into the French equivalent of liquidation on the 22nd June 2022."

Elsewhere ", the leading resource on plant care tips and gardening content on the web, has acquired domain."

B&T always seemed a very comprehensive if expensive site, it is many years since I was wandering around the web seeking seeds.

Thanks to Martin for spotting this and removing B&T from the PBS sources page on the wiki.
PBS Forum Feedback & Help / Email list and forum
February 14, 2023, 02:04:20 PM
I feel the chat about the list and forum would be better here. Anyone tuning in to read about bulbs is going to be a bit fed up with the list by now.

There has been a PBS offering on Facebook for many years - last updated October 2021. That would be a model for Instagram.

I believe we can add a plug-in to this forum that automatically generate a Facebook presence. Why not the same for other platforms.

Today I found a web page that said a forum was better than a social media presence. Something like you get less fools on a forum and it is likely to last longer.

The question of longevity. I always see this as a operation to collect wisdom and save people making the same mistakes in the future. Others do not see things this way, now is all that matters. We had the Yahoo lily list, probably 20 years of amazing lily photos, and it all vanished without a murmur of complaint. That is what happens with proprietary systems.

As to the existing list - my idea is to customise the html to text code and make it turn large images into links.

I can't bring myself to flick the switch to turn the list over to html - it'd probably run OK until someone decided 100MB of photos are necessary to illustrate a point. At which point we'd find out who has the capacity to handle large emails.

I also have to point out that the existing web archive cannot handle html.

We could limit the size of posts - however this is making work - I could spend time showing people how to scale down images (been there, done it on the Yahoo list). You can do a good job of reducing image size if you understand it. But it is something no one want to learn or needs, it is not done in the modern world.

What is the smallest size posts can be limited to without someone complaining it is too small - start at about 20MB and work your way up.

Hopefully no one worried about the climate emergency is posting 50MB photos of polar bears without knowing how much energy it takes to maintain them on the 'cloud'.

If we went to a html list, perhaps we would install mailman 3 (we're on version 2), which comes with its own web based archive.

I noticed someone say that young people only want photos - dangerous thing with gardening, that perfect flower, took 10 years to bloom, and did not last much longer than how long it took to take the photo.

General Off-Topic / ChatGPT
February 10, 2023, 07:58:44 AM
Can anyone type galanthus nivalis into ChatGPT. I'm examining the case for laying off the wiki editors.

General Plants and Gardening / Plant websites
December 21, 2022, 09:44:11 AM
I got this message today. Interesting for the plants, also as a comparison to the PBS wiki.

"I run 3 homepages which combine a botanical key with pictures. My aim is to describe the Flora of Germany (, the ornamental plants of Germany ( and the Flora of the Alps and the Mediterranean from Greece to Portugal ("

General Off-Topic / Soccer World Cup 2022
November 18, 2022, 09:14:59 AM
In 2010 when the World Cup was in South Africa, Bob Ruetemoeller, remarked on the PBS list:

"I just found a reference for this new species named Moraea vuvuzela."

The Vuvuzela was the cheap musical instrument of that World Cup.

PBS Forum Feedback & Help / Alerts/email notifications
September 03, 2022, 04:19:43 AM
"Can this be set (like the SRGC) so I get notification of daily postings and just get a clickable list, not the full help page which I then have to navigate?"

So I set up SRGC forum and the PBS forum to send me a daily digest (your user name, top left -> Notifications), and I can see the problem you report.

I suspect the difference is that SRGC are on a slightly older version of the forum software than PBS, and whilst on SRGC everything is on one tab (or page if you like), on PBS there are three buttons

Notification Preferences

Watched Topics

Watched Boards

If you click on the link in a daily digest email you end up on the first of those tabs, and just have to click on one of the others.
PBS Forum Feedback & Help / Three things to know
August 07, 2022, 09:16:28 AM
You can see the latest posts here:

When you log in, select "forever" you'll never have to log in again.

Follow posts by email - use the Alerts and emails button at the right of boards and topics to select what you want to be notified about.
Current Photographs / Photography
July 08, 2022, 04:10:55 AM
Edit by Martin: Split from July photos. after me  editing one of Arnolds pictures from

Haemanthus humilis.2022.1.jpg



/ edit by Martin

Martin, that's a remarkable result on Arnold's photo, for saying you're stuck with an 8 bit version, whilst the original might be available in raw format (with many more brightness levels).

California Natives Grab Bag-480 X

In this case the X stands for extra.  This grab bag contains all the leftover California native seeds from SX 480.  Most, but not all, of the packets are VERY generous and would be suitable for restoration efforts or nurseries. I will be doing a separate grab bag or two of the other left over seeds soon.  These grab bags will contain small quantities of many of the same species plus others. 

I will be randomizing all the requests which must be submitted to me at <> by 5 pm Tuesday June 28.  Do not request seed via the email list.  Seed requests submitted via the list will not be considered.

All requests will be checked for up to date membership status.  I regret I cannot take requests from countries that require a phytosanitary certificate.

If you win the drawing the cost will be $20 plus postage. You will receive an invoice in your package


Rules for ordering

Your subject line must read California Natives Grab Bag-480 X

Your name, address, and email should be listed first on your order.  Give your address just like you would on an envelope. Don't string it across a line; I can't tell what goes on what line. This is particularly important for foreign addresses. 

For example:

Sue Bulbcrazy

2654 Bulbnut Ln

Bulbnutsville, OR 92013 <>
Here's what's in the very stuffed envelope. 

Brodiaea california

Calochortus catalinae

Calochortus albus

Calochortus catalinae

Calochortus luteus

Calochortus pulchellus

Calochortus simulans

Calochortus splendens

Calochortus superbus

Calochortus uniflorus

Calochortus venustus

Calochortus weedii

Dichelostemma capitatum

Dichelostemma congestum

Dichelostemma ida-maia

Dichelostemma multiflorum

Dichelostemma volubile

Triteleia hyacinthine

Triteleia ixioides

Tritileia laxa
A topic to give messages about the status of PBS systems - everything is working unless there is more written below.

For February 2024, hotmail, msn, outlook, live and any domain which uses them for email bounced mail list postings. That problem appears to have been fixed.

Current Photographs / June 2022
May 31, 2022, 04:37:03 PM
The Spring bulbs are long past flowering, and the gardeners have stripped the ground bare. Time for the thing photographed below to pop-up, it is a crocus seed head.

Massonia - Specialist nursery growing rare bulbs
Bert Zaalberg
Vlietweg 26
2323 LC Leiden
The Netherlands

has today issued new bulb and seed lists:

Seed Exchange 480 is now open for orders until 5pm PDT, May 31, 2022.
Each paid up member may receive a maximum of 15 packets from the list below.
Non-members may not order seed. Members in arrears for SX/BX may not order seed. 
I check.
Limiting the number of seed packets ordered will allow faster processing of orders and
fairer distribution of highly desirable seed. 
I will also be randomizing the orders for filling. 
Any order submitted by the deadline has an equal chance of being filled first.
All orders should be submitted to <>
with "SX 480" in the subject line.

Most of the seed packets are now labelled alphabetically with name, item number and
SX number.  Labelling is still a work in progress; labels were accidentally not generated
for item #3. So be patient with the labelling. 
The labels do not include additional information such as color, parents etc. 
You'll need to transfer that information from the list. 
Donor information is also available from the list. 
The list now includes the number of packets available and if seed is available to make
additional packets.  The list is available as an attached PDF.
If you wish to print it you'll need to set your computer to landscape mode to see all the

Rules for ordering

Your name, address, and email should be listed first on your order. 
Give your address just like you would on an envelope.
Don't string it across a line; I can't tell what goes on what line.
This is particularly important for foreign addresses.

For example:
Sue Bulbcrazy
2654 Bulbnut Ln
Bulbnutsville, OR 92013 <>

Seed is $2 per packet.  Limit 15 packets.
Your bill will reflect credits for any previous SX submissions. 
Postage will be charged per the postage meter. 
You will receive a bill in your envelope which you can pay online at <>

List your 15 first choices in numeric order. For example:

13 Narcissus bulbocodium
14 Narcissus cantabricus
15 Romulea rosea

Unless you tell me differently I will assume you'll accept seed from a different donor if
seed from your first choice donor is sold out.

List your alternates in numeric and alphabetical order. 
You may star your first choice alternates. 
You can also include notes to help me pull seeds that will make you happy. 
For example; "any gladiolus seed ok as alternate". 
If you don't list alternates I will only send the first choices I have available.
Orders received after the deadline will not be filled.

No seed orders from countries that require a phytosanitary certificate.

Contact me with any questions about the SX procedure, but not about the offerings, at <>. 
Questions about germination or the suitability of the seed for your climate should be
posted on the forum.

General Discussion / Plants in the News
May 27, 2022, 01:43:24 PM
A sea of bluebells have suddenly flowered on a hillside on Exmoor for the first time in hundreds of years.

National Park officers believe the plants have lain dormant at Bye Wood, near Winsford in Somerset, for centuries. Clearance work has been going on since last year to create new woodland. As a result, the disturbance has prompted the ancient bluebell bulbs to start sprouting and suggests the site was once completely tree covered.