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Topics - Diane Whitehead

General Plants and Gardening / Urban Garden Seed
August 01, 2023, 07:46:22 AM
They offer an amazing range of seeds - from cactus to vegetables, including lots of orchids, and also bulbs.

There are some negative reviews online.

Have any of you bought from them and been satisfied with the results?
General Discussion / Erythronium sibiricum seeds
July 09, 2023, 12:28:16 PM
I just discovered a packet of Erythronium sibiricum seeds from the Scottish Rock Garden Club.  I am astounded that I didn't get them sown the minute they arrived, as this is a species I don't have and I was delighted they were being offered this year.

I decided to soak them a bit before sowing them.  After a few hours, it looks as though they have germinated already, but the white bits must be the elaiosomes which appeal to ants.  I wonder where they've been hiding.  They certainly weren't noticeable on the small dark brown seeds in the packet.

Well, I think I'll sow them with the eliasomes, unlike what happens in nature when the ants bite them off to feed their babies.

Most Erythronium seeds are very reluctant to sprout for me, except for E. revolutum which has produced hundreds of plants from my one original plant.  I sure hope sibiricum grows.
Mystery Bulbs / Not Gladiolus papilio 'Ruby'
June 08, 2023, 02:32:13 PM
After several years of growing seeds of Gladiolus papilio 'Ruby' which never were, I have finally decided to identify what I actually grew.  These are in flower now.

And I did manage to buy a plant of Ruby from Far Reaches in Port Townsend Washington.

IMG_4416.jpg IMG_4415.jpg
User Profiles / Not a good idea after all
June 03, 2023, 07:16:30 PM
50 years ago I began my new 1/2 acre garden by planting bulbs in the fall.  I knew I'd be planting in the same areas in the spring and didn't want to spear my new bulbs.  I had seen lemon balm growing at my rented house and decided it would be a good idea to plant one above each cluster of bulbs.  

I had no idea how generously that plant self-sows.  Come early spring, it wasn't possible to tell where the bulbs were until they came up.  

I've been pulling out lemon balm ever since, though my son liked it to make smoothies so I never totally eliminated it.
Mystery Bulbs / [solved] Narcissus species?
March 31, 2023, 11:46:49 AM
This narcissus is in an old garden behind the coach house of a mansion built in 1906.

I have never seen a daffodil with a sharply kinked stem like this one.  Could it be a species?
General Discussion / Nerine seed sizes
December 28, 2022, 10:17:37 AM
I just received seeds of   Nerine augustifolia , filifolia , humilis, masoniorum.

They are very small compared to the seeds of Nerine bowdenii, sarniensis and undulata which I grow.

It is obvious that the seeds are viable, since almost every one started growing as they travelled.

So, two questions:  is it normal for those species to have only small seeds?   and might small seeds 
of bowdenii, sarniensis and undulata also be viable?
Current Photographs / Nerine bowdenii
November 23, 2022, 02:55:17 PM
I recently bought a pot of this white one.  It appears to have two bulbs, each of which has put up two tall flower stems - one metre high!  (about 40 inches)    Much taller than the usual pink ones that are common here.

And I've never seen a pink one with wavy edges.

General Discussion / Time from flower to seed?
November 13, 2022, 04:16:15 PM
When I travelled south to California, I took photos of flowers and made detailed notes about where they were growing.  Then I would go again in two months to collect seeds.  It was often difficult to see them since surrounding plants had usually grown tall.

I wonder how long it takes for seeds to form in other places, like South Africa or Chile.  I don't plan to travel to collect any, but I'd like to know when to expect to be able to buy seeds.  It would be good to have this information on our wiki.

Just now I'm reading the new Saunders' gladiolus book.  Gladiolus flowering times vary widely.  Here are dates for a few:    mid-December to mid-January, February to April, between April and June, mornings only August to October, between  mid-October and early December.   etc.  

I guess I will have to check Silverhill every month.
General Discussion / Short-lived flowers
October 19, 2022, 12:38:42 PM
Many South African bulb flowers last only a few hours.  Fortunately there are often new flowers coming on, so there are flowers to admire for several days at least.

Has anyone deliberately searched for ones that lasted longer?
General Discussion / xAmarine
October 16, 2022, 02:31:40 PM
My granddaughter noticed that a couple of pots of Nerine were different - bigger flowers and two broader leaves.

I assume they are xAmarine, a hybrid between Amaryllis belladonna and a Nerine.

Are they fertile?
This month's free e-magazine International Rock Gardener brings new descriptions of three Puschkinia species from the Iranian Alborz & Zagros mountains and no less than five new Crocus species from north-western & western Iran.

Authors are @JānisRukšāns, from Latvia, with @DimitriZubov, from Ukraine and Jānis with @AlirezaDolatyari from Iran. Further evidence, if such were needed, of the wealth of plant diversity in Iran. Download free here:
General Discussion / Invasive Bulbs
May 02, 2022, 07:39:12 AM
Fifty years ago, a generous neighbour gave my little daughter a dozen Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica).  They proliferated so much that I have been digging them out every spring.  I compost the leaves, but the bulbs go in the garbage - buckets of them.  Despite years of effort, there are still thousands.  The bulbs have put themselves under the thick roots of camellias and fruit trees where they can't be reached.

This picture shows how they might get themselves out of reach of my fork.  The young bulbs sprout a thick white root.  Do these contract to draw the bulb down?  Does a new bulb form at the bottom?  Or do they move sideways into new territory?  If I weren't so busy digging, I might experiment, but after being photographed, these went into the garbage can.SpanishBluebells.jpg

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