Nectaroscordum (Bulbs for Continental climates)

Wed, 23 Apr 2003 01:57:03 PDT
Jamie Vande    Cologne    Germany    Zone 8

I've always been fascinated by this tiny genus, ever since I heard my cousin
pronounce it as naked scr--- something or other!  I find their subtle
colouring and noble stance appealing, not to mention the elegant foliage,
bluish-greygreen with ribs, appearing almost succulent from the distance.
The hanging umbels seem to dance in the breeze, catching light with their
slight irridescence.  People do notice them!  The manner in which the
pollinated umbels then set themselves upright to ripen, what a great device!
Then, if that were not enough, friends fight over the dried pods for floral
arrangements!  I find that they do seed about, much like the Alliums, which
is fine.

I'ld be very interested to find seed or bulbs of this other species!  N.
tripetale.  Never heard of it or seen any reference to other species in the
genus.  N. bulgaricum is considered a sub-species to N. siculum, and I fear
that the two have been interbred indiscriminately, leaving the true
sub-specific forms as rairities.  Pity, really.  How are they doing in the
wilds?  Anyone?  If an alba form shows at some time, it could be stunning,
as the refractive qualities of the floral parts would become much more

Tulipa is a frustrating genus for many of us, myself included.  The Dutch
manage to produce more bulbs each year than people on the planet, yet they
languish in most gardens after the second year!  Clearly, they have quite a
few enemies, such as larvae of various beetles, slugs, stray spades!, but
their tendency to loose vigour and finally disappear altogether is
frustrating.  When I took over my garden, about 5 years ago, now, there was
alot of clearing to be done.  Under one of the diseased shrubberies, I found
a clump of old tulips, just the leaves, mind you, along with some Narcissus.
I left them, as I was certain they would disappear of their own accord.  The
next year, they were back and one actually bloomed!  Over the last three
years they have increased and the clump now produces a dozen blossoms.  In
other beds, where I had planted tulips, the scenario is more or less as
expected, bloom and wither and nevermore.  I decided there may be something
about this one bed that favours tulips, so I planted about 50 parrot types 2
years ago and, yes, they are established and blooming abundantly!

In hopes to analyze the situation, I've tried to decide what is special in
this bed.  It is old and relativley unprepared, higher than all other beds
in the garden and has a lighter soil with a naturally excellent drainage.
It receives about half a days hot sun in the summer, being shaded from early
morning sun and then from late afternoon sun.  I do throw a bit of
fertilizer on it twice a year, mainly an acid sort, as there are
Rhododendron and Hemerocallis growing here, as well!  Does this make sense?
The ground is on the alkaline side of neutral and the Rhodis do get a bit
yellow, but they have been there for 30 years and survived.  The fertilizer
helps them.  Apparently the tulips as well.  One thing I do know, the tulips
are planted quite deeply in this bed, at least 20 cm (8").

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