Bulbs with surprising hardiness - and problems

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Wed, 10 Sep 2003 07:27:36 PDT
Dear All;
	As a person who grows bulbs in really cold winter garden, I 
have to be somewhat amused to see listed as hardy, plants that don't 
stand a chance here. I was surprised to see Jane M list F. persica 
which is pretty reliable here and not one I'd consider iffy at all.

	I am also struck by Jim S, comments about Brodiea performance 
in a pot versus the ground. and the general performance of Frit. and 
Corydalis.  I think there are two different things happening here:

	We have discussed how pot culture differs from 'in the 
ground' in terms of the 'physics' of drainage, temp etc. So it 
doesn't surprise that some bulbs do better in pots and others in the 
ground. Also some bulbs multiply madly in post and barely in the 
ground. Vice versus. Experience tells.

	A second topic though is the stress that some bulbs have when 
treated to the (what I'll call ) 'Standard Bulb Treatment' (STB). 
This STB is the Dutch model suited to Tulips and narcissus. Bulbs are 
dug in July or August cleaned, sorted, dried and packaged for 
shipping in August- Sept to arrive in Garden Centers these days. 
Tulips and narcissus don't mind SBT all that much, but others - the 
lesser bulbs in particular seem to resent this terribly and may never 
'get over this abuse'.

	I have remarked on Lycoris (which also seem to 'resent ' SBT) 
with reluctance to put up foliage or bloom for as long as 3 or 4 
years before they recover. Bulbs like Fritillaria and Corydalis which 
are more prone to desiccation may be even less able to recover, 
particularly if they are growing on the edge of ideal conditions.

	A specialty grower (like J. Ruksans for example) treats his 
bulbs quite differently from the Big Dutch growers and instead of SBT 
they get more individual care.

	I won't berate the Dutch - too easy a target for their SBT, 
instead encourage gardeners to buy bulbs from specialty growers who 
know how to handle each kind of bulb in regard to digging, storage, 
handling and shipping according to the bulb's needs and not the 
growers wholesale schedules.

	Buyer beware.	best Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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