Coping with Cold (Bulbs for frozen soil)--TOW

J.E. Shields
Mon, 31 Mar 2003 10:06:38 PST
Hi all,

I live in a cold wet climate in winter and hot and either wet or dry in 
summer -- usually a bit of all.  Those bulbs needing winter dry or summer 
dry are hard to keep going unless planted in carefully selected sites.

Trilliums are native here, and T. recurvatum is probably the commonest 
trillium in Indiana.   I have it from at least two locations.  I've added 
TT. grandiflorum, flexipes, cernuum, and nivale among the natives, but 
these are mostly from commercial sources.  I've added TT. cuneatum, 
erectum, luteum, vaseyi, simile, and sessile this spring, all from 
commercial sources.  I'm not brave enough to try the West Coast Trillium 
species here.

Crocuses, Scilla, Chionodoxa, many irises, lots of trumpet daffodils, etc., 
are the mainstays of spring bulbs and are hardy here.  Tulips are a waste 
of time and money -- you have to grow them as annuals.  Some of the 
crocuses may be eaten by rodents of course.  Lycoris, Colchicum, Crocus 
speciosus, and the hardy Hymenocallis occidentalis are the late summer and 
autumn flowering bulbs here.  You can't have too many of them as the garden 
is otherwise rather burned out in appearance come the end of July.  I like 
especially Lycoris chinensis, longituba, and sprengeri.  L. squamigera is 
the only commonly seen Lycoris in Indiana, but the other three are quite 
hardy here and very rewarding to grow.

I also have Bulbocodium vernum in bloom now.  These bulbs are under high 
shade in a sandy bed at the base of a tree.  Planted in October, 2001, they 
have survived two winters outdoors in the ground and bloomed both springs.

I planted one Merendera, M. sobolifera, in my raised-bed rock garden.  A 
couple pieces of it seemed to have survived the first winter (2001-2002), 
although they did not bloom.  It may have succumbed during this past 
winter.  Nevertheless, I'm tempted to try some other Merendera species too.

Sternbergia lutea has survived outdoors in the ground in several 
locations.  It comes back and blooms.  You should try it if you live in 
USDA zone 5b or milder.

Corydalis surviving and now blooming or starting to bloom around the 
woodland garden include CC. kusnetzovii, angustifolia 'Georgian 
White',  turczaninowii, and paczoskii.  C. solida 'Beth Evans' and 'George 
P. Baker' are flourishing in the woodland garden, of course.  C. solida 
naturalized in a woodland area farther back are also doing 
well.   Disappointing (at least in their first try here) were CC. 
schanginii schanginii and  schanginii ainae, as well as glaucescens.  I 
think their location, in full sun, was in too heavy a clay soil.  Corydalis 
bracteata has been here for several years, but seems to be dwindling 
slowly.  I plan to buy more bracteata from Ruksans and try them in 
different locations.

I'm trying various hardy Arisaema, including sikokianum, ringens, 
thunbergii, serratum, and urushima as well as others that I've not yet seen 
go through a full year.  A. sikokianum has bloomed the past two springs, 
and I'm waiting to see if it comes back again this spring.  Arisaema 
sazensoo has not done particularly well here, and it is probably not going 
to come back this year.  Of course, AA. dracontium and triphyllum are 
native here and perfectly hardy.

I'll have more to say about cold hardy bulbs as the spring progresses and I 
can see more of what has survived and what has not.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

At 07:18 AM 3/31/03 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>Someone asked for a topic on bulbs that survived frozen ground. A number 
>of you have been reporting spring is at last coming although I saw on the 
>weather channel that snow has still been coming too. But now seems like a 
>good week for this topic when spring is officially here although it has 
>been looking like spring in California for months. Judy Glattstein is 
>writing a book on naturalistic gardening with bulbs and has kindly 
>provided us with an introduction for this topic below.
>Mary Sue Ittner
>TOW Coordinator

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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