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

Messages - janemcgary

The map Bern shared is a good graphic for understanding the role of high mountain ranges and maritime wind effects on North America. Right now I'm in the blue-to-green zone at around 20 F in western Oregon, and would not be that cold were it not for the presence of the Columbia River Gorge, cutting the Cascade Range, through which continental winds bring deep, sudden cold. The Pacific coastline is about 120 miles west of us, with its mild winter temperatures in spite of the offshore cold Japan Current. The arctic air mass so prominent on the map is able to extend all the way to the Atlantic coast because there are no continuous high mountains east of the Rocky Mountain range. 
General Discussion / Re: Colchicum candidissimum
January 09, 2024, 04:21:25 PM
The color of the anthers is confusing. They are yellow at first, but then they open to dark bluish gray. It depends at what stage you see them. It does seem closer to C. trigynum than anything else. My plants received as seed under the name C. trigynum are much smaller than the candidissimum, but they also flower in midwinter.
General Discussion / Re: Colchicum candidissimum
January 07, 2024, 06:37:21 PM
Not helpful. I know what they look like, I just want to know if I should call them something else when distributing them. Some of Zubov's contributions on SRGC are names recognized in the Kew monograph, others are not. In fact, I probably saw this in flower in Azerbaijan when I was there in spring; will have to look back at my photos from the field. It is a snowmelt plant at higher elevation, but earlier here near sea level.
Current Photographs / Re: January 2024
January 06, 2024, 06:17:29 PM
Carlos posted a photo labeled Sternbergia vernalis. Is this the same thing as S. fischeriana? That's the yellow-flowered, midwinter-blooming species I have. For another, white this time, here is Sternbergia candida, photographed today.
Bern asked where I grew Carlina acaulis. I sowed it when the Halda seed arrived, probably late fall. The seed pots were outdoors in winter, including exposure to moderate frost. The plants were growing outdoors in a bed of pure sand, not irrigated, where I also had cacti.
General Discussion / Colchicum candidissimum
January 06, 2024, 01:00:21 PM
Attached is a photo of plants grown from seed received from V. Pilous under the name Colchicum candidissimum. That name does not appear in the synonymy in the new Colchicum volume by Grey-Wilson, Leeds & Rolfe. The present Colchicum is clearly in the section formerly known as Merendera, and it has some affinity to Colchicum trigynum (M. t.). Its flowers are mostly white, some pink-flushed, and the three-part style is filiform and very slender. The anthers are versatile, yellow at first but opening to blackish. It is a small plant and as shown, the leaves are present at flowering. Do any of you know anything about this plant? It is a vigorous increaser and I'd like to share it, but don't want to send it out under an unverifiable name. I don't have access to any Soviet-era floras, which may be where "candidissimum" exists.Colchicum candidissimum 24-2.jpg
I've grown unusual plants (mostly bulbs and alpines) from seed since the mid-1980s and have almost never used artificial cooling. I think temperature fluctuation has an effect on germination. Tried the toilet-tank washing technique on Iris and noticed no particular advantage. If you acquire seeds of species that would ordinarily begin their germination phase in autumn, and you don't get them until midwinter, you can sow them on arrival and they are likely to germinate the following winter/spring. Josef Halda advised letting ungerminated seed pots with species from summer-dry regions dry out during summer, and I do this with some kinds. Re. Carlina acaulis, I grew it from a Halda collection, and the most interesting thing about it is that the dry inflorescence closes during damp weather and opens back up on sunny days, even when removed from the plant! Must be an adaptation to seed dispersal.
General Discussion / Re: Plants in the News
December 29, 2023, 01:41:35 PM
In my former garden, Crocus sativus did well in a sandy, somewhat acidic raised bed, until the voles got to it. The current crop came to me after a researcher sent a large quantity of surplus corms to Mark Akimoff (Illahe nursery), which Mark shared with me. They were already in flower on arrival here, and I quickly stuck them in the raised bed where I grow vegetables in a mix of native clay soil, coarse sand, and organic compost, occasionally limed but still a bit acidic. They flowered well the second year and are now in leaf, which they'll be through winter. Some growers believe that plants from alkaline-soil habitats do well without high pH as long as they have adequate fertility. I don't add lime to my bulb soil mix, but I do use soluble complete fertilizer on the bulbs grown under cover, and a cool-season slow-release fertilizer on the open garden. The veg garden stays "chemical" free; it's really chemicals all the way down, of course, but nice to reassure friends who get the surplus zucchini.
General Discussion / Re: Plants in the News
December 28, 2023, 01:25:51 PM
Saffron keeps better in the freezer. I also keep paprika and poppy seeds there. Now that I have a whole lot of Crocus sativus, apparently thriving in the veg garden, I will not worry so much about the purchased supply, however.
The solstices were interesting during the years I lived in interior Alaska. We traveled a little north to see the midnight sun on the summer solstice (usually from a great plant site). As the winter solstice approached, each day's weather report on the radio included a downer like this: "Today will have 2 hours and 15 minutes of sunlight, seven minutes less than yesterday." The traditional stories I worked with at the Language Center were usually told in the short days of winter, and Koyukon narrators ended with the formula, "I told this story all winter, and now I hear water dripping outside the door." No wonder I cherish my winter flowers now!
General Discussion / Re: Plants in the News
December 09, 2023, 04:10:05 PM
Interesting that they use an English name "giant rhubarb." In Chile people harvest the stems and not only cook them (after peeling off the spiny outer layer) but also make a kind of liquor from them. Learned that when we happened on a group of locals getting the stems in a stream drainage. They were going to make booze.
General Discussion / Re: Trying a few root crops
December 03, 2023, 06:22:11 PM
For a long time, Japanese experts claimed that wasabi could not be grown anywhere else. Recently, however, it has begun to be grown in Oregon. I don't know if it's in actual streamflow, which would be possible near the Pacific coast where the grower is, or whether it's in a hoop house with circulating pumps, but yes, it's aquatic. It has not, to my knowledge, been used here as in Japan, see photo of ice cream shop.
Current Photographs / Re: Burning man hat
November 29, 2023, 04:24:39 PM
Someone who's still going to Burning Man can probably sow seeds at 82 and expect to see them flower. Rock on.
To answer Uli's questions about the plunge beds in my bulb house: Yes, the beds are surrounded by concrete blocks. I chose the kind with a textured face for looks, and they are two large blocks high, set on a concrete base. The planting area has heavy-duty woven groundcloth on the bottom to keep moles out. The roof is double-walled polycarbonate panels, and the sides are what we call "hardware cloth" in the USA. I had to have all the metal parts painted brown because the county told me that any added structure over 500 square feet (this is 800) had to be made of "the same materials as the dwelling," i.e. brown brick, which would not have actually worked. We compromised on the paint, but I had to argue a lot and get letters of support from botanist friends. I also had to install an 1100-gallon rainwater tank and a bioswale (aka weed sink) to handle the runoff. Yes, it was expensive, but after many years fighting with cold frames in freezing weather and howling winds, I went for the over-engineered option. The temperature inside the bulb house is no more than one or two degrees warmer than ambient, but keeping the foliage dry in winter increases resistance to freezing. and yes, the side that is all pots has a path down the middle so I can reach all the pots. The other side is only about one-quarter pots at the front, and the rest directly planted larger geophytes. This summer I added more organic matter to the directly planted area.
Here are the beds in my bulb house (roofed, sides only screened), with plunged pots. The plunge material is coarse sand and used seed-sowing soil from ungerminated pots.