TOW--Bulbs for Pacific Northwest Gardens

Mary Sue Ittner
Tue, 21 Jan 2003 22:19:11 PST
Dear All,

Iam still hoping that those of you who live in Canada, Oregon and Washington will respond with what you are growing in your gardens. I know Ernie wants to hear from Jane especially but any experiences will be valuable.

I looked through my Ortho book that I mentioned when we were discussing favorite books as it has a map of the United States. If an area is colored dark blue that means the bulb can be naturalized in that part of the country with normal garden care. The authors admitted they were guessing in some cases and that part of the fun of gardening is breaking the rules about where a plant can grow. John Lonsdale does that all the time and Jim Shields is always trying to see what might survive his cold temperatures.

I looked through the maps to see which bulbs the authors saw as suitable for areas in Washington and Oregon. Some of these are ones that Ernie and Diane mentioned. Occasionally the book listed a number of species as examples, but others time not many and we all know that there can be real variation in the climatic conditions in the various habitats of different species and thus potential suitability of different species in the same genus. So I suspect it is hard to generalize.

Here are the bulbs this book suggested could be naturalized in the Pacific Northwest: Allium, Anemone (coastal areas), Brodiaea (coastal areas), Camassia, Canna (coastal areas), Chinonodoxa, Colchicum, Convallaria majalis, Crocus, Cyclamen (hardy species), Dichelostemma (coastal areas), Eranthis, Eremeurus, Erythronium, Fritillaria, Galanthus, Gladiolus (Oregon, southern Washington), Habranthus (coastal Oregon), Hemerocallis, Hyacinthoides (coastal Oregon), Hyacinthus orientalis, Iris, Leucojum, Lillium, Muscari, Narcissus, Nerine (narrow coastal band of Oregon and even narrower for Washington), Ornithogalum (coastal areas), Oxalis (the western half of each state), Puschkinia scilloides, Scilla (there is no map but should work by Ernie's experience),  Trillium, Triteleia (coastal areas), Tulipa species, Zephyranthes (narrow coastal strip in Oregon.)

Anyone want to suggest species of those genera to try?

Brodiaea coronaria is found in Oregon and Washington and B. elegans and B. terrestris into Oregon and I mentioned some of the Triteleias from the Pacific Northwest in my introduction to that topic. Dichelostemma congestum extends north to Canada and Dichelostemma ida-maia into Oregon. So those species might work and I bet there are other species in these three genera that work in those new beds even if the book only suggested coastal areas. My experience proves they can take winter wet and some are from high elevations so should be able to survive cold too. Surely some crocus would be possible wouldn't they?

Several years ago Vicki announced that she got Cardiocrinum giganteum to bloom in her Washington garden. It was no doubt planted in the ground.

I find it interesting that Diane hasn't had any luck with Narcissus. Perhaps Dave Karnstedt could suggest ones that he grows in Oregon that return. 
Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner <>
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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