Jane McGary
Mon, 08 Jul 2002 10:16:44 PDT
I didn't think I should write an introduction since my bulb-growing
operation is described in such detail in the first Pacific Bulb Society
newsletter, but since this forum has members who will not be receiving that
newsletter, here is a summary.

I live on 10 acres (4 ha) in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains about
30 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon and about 30 miles from Mt. Hood, a
not entirely dormant volcano. The elevation here is about 1600 feet (500 m)
and the soils are of course volcanic, mildly acidic, and very well drained.
Average winter minimum temperature is about 15 degrees F (minus 10 degrees
C), but varying quite a lot; most plants in the open garden have survived 5
degrees F (minus 15 C), and most in the bulb frame have survived at least
25 F (minus 4 C). The big problem for bulbs is the wet winters: average 45
inches, almost all as rain, between October and June, with frequent hard
frosts in between rainstorms. July through September is normally dry. The
natural soil drainage and my berm-style rock garden help, but
winter-growing foliage often suffers. The atmospheric humidity is low in
summer, resulting in sharp night cooling, so I don't grow many
moisture-loving summer bulbs, which I find do not flourish without humidity
and constant warmth.

I grow about 1,200 taxa of geophytes, mostly in five 40-foot-long,
4-foot-wide ranges of unheated frames, in mesh or clay pots plunged in
sharp sand. I'll try almost anything that is likely to be frost-hardy but
don't have much success with South African bulbs or with bulbs from
wet-summer climates, which are too much trouble when everything else is on
a Mediterranean cycle. In addition, there are a lot of bulbs in the open
garden, particularly genera that are not attacked by voles and field mice,
terrible pests here in the country. Finally, I have a heatable plant room
that is part of my house, where I keep tender bulbs over winter and start
some of my seedlings. 

I am the editor of the NARGS journal, the Rock Garden Quarterly, and have
now edited three contributor volumes for NARGS and Timber Press, including
"Bulbs of North America." I also edit other kinds of books, particularly
academic reference books and monographs in the humanities and social
sciences, and sometimes in the natural sciences. My BA is in classics
(helps with taxonomic names)and MA in comparative literature (helped only
with persuading me to forgo the PhD!).

I enjoy traveling to see plants and so far have done this in South America
(twice), New Zealand, and England. Other hobbies are cooking, collecting
Arts and Crafts pottery, and attempting to train my Malamute dogs (2 AKC
obedience titles in the past, so it's not impossible, but they'd rather
hunt mice).

With best regards,
Jane McGary

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