Bulbs for Continental climates

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Tue, 22 Apr 2003 08:05:51 PDT
Dear all;
	I am in the very central US - tres Continental.

	It has been interesting to see the variation in success with 
similar bulbs in very slightly different climates.

	The number one spring bulb here is Narcissus, but even so 
there can be a quite a variety of responses. The early sorts are 
subject to late frosts and I lost a whole batch of 'Rjnveld's Early 
Sensation' one year while in another part of the yard (about 300 ft 
away) the same cv weas set back and returned the next year. Some seem 
fool proof - the old standard varieties, but I am
constantly amazed to see new houses without daffodils in the 
landscape. So cheap and easy they should required with every real 
estate sale.

	Lilies are a summer mainstay. The Asiatics are common and old 
time tiger lilies are often seen in old gardens. I grow most and 
prefer the orientals, orienpets and trumpets running the gamut from O 
- T. Even so some cvs do much better than others. The old 
yelow'Connecticut Yankee' is one that routinely does poorly for me, 
but is a weed for most. L. formosanum is one of my favorites.

	Late summer is dominated by Lycoris squamigera very common 
especially in older gardens where it is often seen lining both sides 
of the walk or surrounding the yard light. Almost no others are seen 
although they generally do very well here (a few exceptions). Local 
name include 'Naked Ladies' and 'Pink Flamingo Flower'

	A few specifics that I have 'worked at' and in great improvements.
	Iris "reticulata" cvs. I've generally grown them as annuals 
and they are very pretty, but a few years ago I started to plant them 
in masses in the grass and in a more shady area. Suddenly they 
actually multiplied, set seed and are starting to self sow. The 
foliage does get very tall - almost like a new plant. And some cvs 
are better here than others - I danfordiae and its hybrids are still 

	Juno irises too are a whole new world after constructing a 
raised rock wall. From persisting and flowering they are now vigorous 
and expanding. Last year I dug one ( I wilmottiana of hort) that went 
from one bulb to 18 in 3 years. And an I magnifica I dug out because 
it was too thick, has returned in the same place like a dense ground 
cover! The only common sp I have trouble with is I cycloglossa 

Among my favorites for ease and vigor for most species I have tried:
	Arisaema, Arum (a special favorite), Pinellia among aroids
	Crocus esp fall species like banaticus.
	Ipheion-esp 'Alberto Castillo', but 'Wisley' bulks up and is so cute!
	Chinodoxa - 'Pink Giant' does best here
	Camassia leichtlinii - best blue and vigorous - just starting to bloom
	Anemone blanda - long blooming and easy in sun or shade. A. 
nemorosa although some cvs are messy
	Narcissus- last but most abundant of bulbs here-including new 
single bulb gems to try and lots of old favorites.

	Others that are here and do OK
	Allium - a dozen or so including some common and some gems 
like A. zebdanense in bloom now.
	Biarum - holds on (B. tenuifolium)
	Colchicum - OK, but not very vigorous. six or 8 varieties.
	Corydalis- a couple, but not many tried or not much success
	Cyclamen -coum and hederifolium -hang in
	Crinum - x powelli in the ground for years, a number of other 
cvs and sp-always trying others.
	Dichelostoma- only congestum -which I recall as lilac-blue, not white.
  	Dracunculus - no one has mentioned this wonderful oddity. It 
has taken a while to find the right places for this, but now have a 
couple of clumps that return regularly and produce their bizarre 
bloom and wonderful foliage. I love them.
	Eranthis-the two common species thrive and self sow.
	Eremurus - a few that multiply and bloom well.
	Fritillaria - a half dozen hat are ok, but wishes for more. 
Each one seems a challenge to establish.
	Galanthus - wish they did better, but a couple are 
exceptional. Probably too dry.
	Geranium - 3 species of tuberous species -wonderful fine 
foliage and very easy. Multiply, but easy to keep from getting away.
	Gladiolus- all hardy species including 'gandavensis'/dalenii'
	Hyacinthus- a few of the multiflora types, and they do fine 
here. I like these as they are more like wild flowers than the big 
Dutch hybrids. Smell as good too.
	Leucojum- aestivum and vernalis do well and self sow, but not 
much luck with other sp.
	Muscari - just not my plant. I grow a number and they do 
fine. Personal preference puts them low on the list. Common grape 
hyacinth is a lawn weed.
	Nectaroscordum siculum - I planted 3 or 4 and only one 
survived and slowly grew to bloom and now is putting up a half dozen 
spikes of weird, but wonderful flower heads. Not to everyone's taste. 
Wish there were more colorful cvs.  Anyoe know of imporvements? Don't 
recall much mention of this, is it widely grown?
	Ornithogalum - I only grow O ponticum, but O umbellatum can 
be a weed around here. Glad it isn't in my garden.
	Scilla - Mostly excellent in a wide variety of colors and 
seasons. S. sibirica is done as other just come up - English blue 
bells, Roman wood hyacinths etc. All seem to have changed genera,but 
were S. non-scripta, S. campanulatus etc. Hyacinthoides hispanica (I 
think that's the right name) puts up foliage in fall that get very 
beat up by winter and then pushes up more and forms a large 
clump-flower spikes are just beginning to appear. S. numidica is 
slowly establishing too. S, biflora is done-cute, but so tiny.
	Fall Scillas like autumnalis, scilloides, japonica do fine 
with minute flowers.
	Tritelia laxa 'Queen F' is just OK- not a good grower and 
uneven in bloom.
	Ixiolirion should do better, but slowly declines.
	Tulips- the large flowered tend to be annuals or short lived. 
A few species that find their niche are great. T. sylvestris wanders 
around in shade with more foliage than flowers alas. T. tarda is a 
tiny gem, and a few others are always looked forward to each spring.

	Looking at the above it is quite a list and didn't list one 
or two of Hermodactylus, 2 sp. of Sternbergia, Gymnospermium 
albertii, 1 Paris, 2 Veratrum
and other odds and ends or tender bulbs grown in a cool greenhouse 
and dragged out annually for show like the horrendous Helicodiceros 
musciverous and Amorphphallus and various Polianthes and... and... 
	Yes  it is madness. Don't get me started with Cannas.

		Best	Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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