TOW: Bulbs with surprising hardiness

Dell Sherk
Tue, 09 Sep 2003 10:49:23 PDT
Dear All,

    Since Mary Sue is away, I volunteered to introduce the topic for this
week. It was suggested by Robert Parker. Please share your experiences with
growing bulbs which are reported to be tender in your area but which you
have found to survive better than expected.
    I have one such experience to share. Several years ago when Oxalis began
to develop as a hot item on the BX's, I acquired several varieties from Uli
Urban in Germany. One, whose name escapes me now, was a large pink one with
relatively big leaves and glossy flowers. It bloomed for me indoors that
first year and continued to produce flowers and to grow bigger when I put
its pot outdoors for the summer. When autumn came, I needed to thin out my
collection of potted plants, as usual, so that my indoor space could
accommodate everything. I carry out this process of elimination by
practicing selective neglect. In the case of this oxalis, I dumped the pot
into a bin of soil for recycling.  That bin remains outside throughout our
Zone 6 winter when we usually experience hard freezes. Most oxalis are not
fond of freezing weather, so I expected to lose that one.
    When spring came and the soil bin had almost thawed, I dipped some soil
out as I was potting up some things. Much to my amazement, there were oxalis
bulblets in there which had not turned to mush. Still, I thought, "The
trauma of freezing will kill them eventually." So when oxalis leaves
appeared in the large planting barrel where the recycled soil ended up, I
was delighted. The plants grew to be quite large and bloomed most of the
summer. Alas, the next winter was much harsher, and they did not survive.
    Has any of you had a similar experience with bulbs or companion plants
which have survived against the odds?

Best wishes,

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