Bulbs you thought you had lost

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Wed, 24 Sep 2003 13:27:12 PDT
Dear All,

I am slowly getting through the discussions I missed while I was gone and 
very much enjoyed reading the topic of the week about some of the bulbs 
people were surprised to see again. In the spirit of my previous message 
about responding weeks after the discussion is over I'd like to offer two 
stories of bulbs I thought were long gone.

The first concerns a Moraea that was sold to be by the wrong name. I 
planted it in a pot and although it came up each year for three or four 
years, all it did was split into smaller corms. Finally I gave up and just 
planted a bunch of them in the ground. If I marked them, the tag got lost 
and I long forgot about them. One year I saw these very tall spikes 
appearing in several spots in my garden and couldn't imagine what in the 
world they could be. When they bloomed, I was even more puzzled about what 
they were. Finally I figured out they were Moraea bellendenii. I am sure 
they were descendants of those misnamed bulbs. This Moraea usually blooms 
for me now, but when it doesn't I just figure it is taking a year off. A 
Moraea related to it, Moraea tricuspidata, I thought I had lost since I 
hadn't seen it for several years, but it bloomed last year when I had 
redone my beds and planted back unknown Moraea corms.

In 1990 when we had in California what we called "The Arctic Freeze", a 
cold spell in December where it remained below freezing for us for three 
days in a row, most of my South African bulbs turned to mush. Some of them 
I had planted in a raised bed sent up new leaves afterwards but didn't 
bloom. I was sure most of them would never return. The following year to my 
surprise some of them did return and the year after that a few more 
appeared. There were Lachenalias in this category appearing two or three 
years later and one corm of Geissorhiza splendidissima resurfaced two years 
later and went on to bloom for the next three or four years before 
disappearing once again, this time for good.

Mary Sue

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