More California bulbs in bloom

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 29 Jun 2003 08:11:27 PDT
Dear All,

We've had a short heat wave in California and when we returned from our 
trip, I wasn't sure how many of the winter growing bulbs would still be 
blooming. (The fog has returned in full measure today.) There are still 
some natives blooming in my garden and yesterday Bob took some pictures of 
more Brodiaeas. These are more fully open. When we had the topic of the 
week there were just a few flowers open. This picture is of the cultivar 
Brodiaea purdyi 'Blue Ribbons'. Parker Sanderson and Jane McGary say in 
Bulbs of North America, of Brodiaea purdyi "It is not, however, a very 
attractive plant owing to its narrow tepals." And I ask you why would 
narrow tepals make it unattractive? I feel the need to defend it in case 
people would read that book and decide not to try it. The book is great. I 
just challenge the sentence.…

This Brodiaea elegans is a lovely shiny dark purple. I think it is gorgeous.…

I planted a native raised bed 12 years ago using very poor soil and haven't 
redone it although I probably will in the next year or two now that Alberto 
has taught me an improved method. It doesn't get any water at all from when 
the rain stops until it starts again (usually May until September or 
October). It mostly is neglected meaning I don't water or fertilize it 
although I have added bark for mulch a couple of times. This year with late 
rains there have been a lot of bulbs blooming including all these Triteleia 
laxas. This one is a lighter color than the Queen Fabiola so commonly grown.…

Also blooming in this bed right now is Bloomeria crocea and Brodiaea 
elegans (glimpsed in the picture.) Most of the other native bulbs in that 
bed (Fritillaria biflora ssp. biflora, Dichelostemma capitatum, Triteleia 
ixioides, Zigadenus fremontii, Brodiaea stellaris, Calochortus uniflorus) 
are finished. I am including the names as these are the ones that have 
survived neglect. Other natives I planted there I haven't seen in a long 
time. That Calochortus isn't really happy there as it is much too dry for 
it and some years I don't see it and Alliums haven't survived either after 
a year or so. The Zigadenus is the one that surprises me because most I 
have in my garden are growing in more shade in spots where the soil stays 
wetter and where there is a lot of room for the big bulbs. But it blooms 
reliably every year. The bulbs must be lodged in the hardware cloth I lined 
the bed with.

Mary Sue

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

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