Frittered away

Sat, 19 Apr 2003 01:39:00 PDT
Jamie Vande    Cologne    Germany    Zone 8

Jim's frustration with Frittilarias was the case for myself until recently.  What did I do to attain success?  I haven't a clue!  Perhaps it is how I perceive success, those plants that could not adapt just disappeared over time with a few exceptions that insist on hanging in and not blooming.  My better growers are F. imperialis, which has settled in in two spots in the garden, both apparently different.Mind you, I started with around 30 bulbs and only managed to maintain two good clumps!  After having seen the slendering beds of various cvs at the Keukenhof in the Netherlands, I had to give it a try.  One clump of F. imp. AURORA is in heavy, wet clay at the edge of my pond and blooms faithfully each year.  It enjoys sun for at least 6 hours a day, only early afternoon shade.  The second clump is a Lutea which is in a better drained location, but moist, not so rich and the same light.  Further up the slope in a summer parched clay/gravel mix with a bit of organics, F. persica ADIYAMAN comes back reliably each year and gets bigger and bigger.  It shares it's spot with Nerine bowdenii, Amaryllis belladona, reticulata type iris and a few Frit. uva-vulpis (which languish, but bloom).  F. meleagris has seeded itself all along the side of my pond in the grass and moss, under Japanese maples, between ferns and will, hopefully, encroach upon my damp lawn!  Damp is the ingredient that makes the difference for this species.  A hand full of bulbs and we were on our way.

Less successful are F. pallidiflora, which slowly disappears and F. pontica, which has hung-in in but one moist spot under a Japanese maple.  It seems to enjoy an even moisture in half sun and I will try planting more in the Autumn, if I can find any.  The sage green leaves of this plant make a lovely accent with the lime green of Acer pal. dissectum.  F. michailovsky has never done a thing in my garden, flowering once and basta, off to Fritt. heaven.  It plays the harp along with F. acmopetala!  A lovely duet, if you can afford it!

The shocking purple blooms of Paeonia kavachensis unfurled in yesterdays glorious weather.  Sunny, light breeze and 25°C.  Absolutely perfect!  It was an absolute joy to slurp lemonade and clean the terrace of the overwintering pots of various seedlings.  The energy the sun filters into your bones is just the most healing phaenomenum I know.  Lizards are apparently much more intelligent than typically given credit!  Speaking of P. kavachensis, I have a seedling, P. Xchamaeleon x P. kavachensis, with wonderful lime green foliage and pink-purple stems.  Has yet to bloom, but, if this combi persists, I will keep it for foliage alone.  Much like my P. ludlowii, which never blooms, but the leaves make a perfect foil for water iris and Hemerocallis.  Everyone asks what that elegant shrub is!? 

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