What's in bloom now

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Thu, 21 Nov 2002 10:11:20 PST
Little is flowering in my "greenhouse," or conservatory, or plant room (or,
as a Russian friend calls it, the aranzheriya 'orangery'), except for
cyclamen species such as C. graecum, persicum, africanum, and rohlfsianum.
In the bulb frame, however, are many interesting flowers. 

Being an alpine enthusiast I love Scilla lingulata var. ciliata, which has
flat rosettes of stiff little triangular leaves and puffs of bright blue
flowers barely rising above them. There are several fall-blooming scillas
-- most people grow S. scilloides and S. autumnalis. S. intermedia flowers
in September here. S. scilloides is rather large and increases quickly, but
the others would be perfect in a California rock garden.

Many crocuses have already come and gone. Crocus nudiflorus is in good
condition now, and C. ochroleucus is starting up in frame and garden; the
latter survives my rodent=infested beds better than any other crocus, I
think because it pulls itself down so deeply. C. moabiticus, which started
out this season rather slowly in very cold temperatures, has improved its
outlook on life in the past few warm days, and I hope to get some seed set,
as it set seed during a warm fall 2 years ago; a "saffron" relative native
to Jordan, it is rare and endangered and rarely sets seed in cultivation,
and should be grown in southern California, where I will send some if
possible one of these years. Just behind it in flowering schedule is
another Mideast native, C. hermoneus, which seems to be a bit easier to
grow although also quite scarce.

The Sternbergias are almost done, though S. greuterana has a longer
flowering period than the other fall-blooming ones; it is small, about
one-third the size of familiar S. lutea.

The last of the Colchicums are in flower now, particularly tiny C. cupanii
in the autumn-flowering white form. It has filled an 8-inch (20-cm) pot and
covered the surface with bloom. I also have it in the rock garden, where it
is surviving but not flowering, perhaps a bit too cold and wet. Another
late colchicum is C. procurrens, which is pink.

Narcissus serotinus and N. humilis both flowered this fall, just before I
left for South America in October, and I am both surprised and gratified to
see them carrying on from year to year in what must be a trying climate for

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon

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