Introduction; also Comments on Deep Pots

Rodger Whitlock
Fri, 28 Mar 2003 07:29:51 PST
An Introduction:

I garden in Victoria, British Columbia. My interests in bulbs are 
wide ranging, but I favor those hardy enough to survive in the open 
garden or an unheated coldframe. My garden is a low spot with rather 
heavy, poorly drained soil, so bulbs liking a light soil (for example 
crocuses) do not do very well for me. My garden is also somewhat 
shady, so sunlovers must be sited with care.

Victoria is far enough north here that its winters are darker than
in Oregon. Rainfall is about 20" (50 cm) a year, mostly falling in 
the Nov-March period. Summers are very dry, though not hot: if the 
temperature goes about 70F (21C) everyone exclaims "what a hot day!"

We are far enough north that, although our winters are generally 
mild, we get outflows of extremely cold arctic air every once in a 
while. Thus, something like Tecophilaea cyanocrocus, though it has 
done very well this past winter kept outside with minimal overhead 
protection from excessive wet, must be rushed into more protected 
storage when such a cold wave threatens.

Trilliums do well for me, but so do narcissus, at least until the 
narcissus fly finds them. Cyclamen also do very well for me, as do 
erythroniums. I have coldframe space for about 400 pots, currently 
not fully utilized.

My favorite genus is Leucojum, even though the rarer members are 
on the tender side and must be protected from hard freezes.

On 15 Feb 03 at 0:04, diana chapman wrote:

> I have found that regular 5 gallon pots are usually deep enough for
> Rhodophialas and other bulbs that like to grow deep.

Is that a real 5 gallons or a nominal 5 gallons? What are the actual
dimensions? I ask because of the international flavor of this
mailing list, combined with (a) the existence of two different
gallons (imperial and US) and (b) the fact that nominal pot sizes in
gallons are often wildly different from the actual capacities,

What is commonly termed a "one gallon pot" here actually holds 2.5 to 
3 litres -- half an imperial gallon, about 0.6 of a US gallon. These
are the common round black pots, 6" (15 cm) id at the top, 7" (17.7
cm) deep.

From time to time a deeper version of the "one gallon" pot turns up 
which is 9" (23 cm) deep. I use these for erythroniums and, in the 
house, ordinary "amaryllis" (actually hippeastrums).

>  A solution for small quantities of bulbs is to take a one gallon
> or two gallon pot, fill it two thirds full of potting medium, then
> take another pot of the same size, cut the bottom out, place it
> inside the first pot and then fill it with potting medium (you then
> have two pots stacked one inside the other, giving you double the
> depth).  I have had as many as three two gallon pots stacked in
> such a manner for things like Tropaeolum.  Unpotting the bulbs is
> very easy, since you just lift the top pot out, and the potting
> soil falls away, exposing the bulbs.

This behavior is very interesting. It is quite likely due to high 
soil temperatures, the bulbs migrating downward in search of cooler 
soil. I have noticed that bulbs left to themselves often burrow to 
considerable depths in the soil. Our local /Erythronium oregonum/ is 
often a foot or even 18" (30-45 cm) deep.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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