Bulbs for California central valley

RichardPIV@aol.com RichardPIV@aol.com
Mon, 26 Jan 2004 16:32:12 PST
Hi Joyce,
     Thank you so much for the listing.   I have some of these species in my 
yard or in pots which will need separating, as well as some seedlings.   This 
is very encouraging.   I have many Ixias and Babianas that I had not even 
considered until you mentioned them.   They multiply prolificly for me.
     My daughter has successfully kept pots of cyclamen from year to year in 
the Fresno area, once she understood to not water them in summer and keep them 
in a cool place out of the summer sun.   That's encouraging, and she's 
excited about having her own garden.

Richard Smith

In a message dated 1/26/04 12:24:27 PM, onager@midtown.net writes:

> Hi Richard,
> You wrote:  Snip...Please recommend some bulbs/geophytes for beginners for
> California's Central Valley.
>          I live across the Sacramento River from Roy Sachs; we share the
> same climate.  The genera listed below have survived and bloomed for me
> over the years.  Many, many were grown from seed.  My reason for being
> especially specific with genera names is so that you can consult reference
> books for specific details on growing species.  So much success depends on
> the "little details" that go beyond dig a hole, plant 'em, and cover them 
> up.
>          "Easy" is a difficult term to define.  I am both a careful and a
> careless gardener.  Almost all of my bulbs are grown in beds raised 12 to
> 18 inches.   Micro-climates are extremely critical.  I am careful to select
> location, exposure and water delivery.   For example, e.g. Cyclamen sp
> located under a Trident maple which keeps the tubers "dry" during the
> summer dormancy.  By contrast, a C. hederifolium is in full sun location
> and produces large leaves.  This first year after transplanting the other
> Cyclamen, I notice the tubers under the maple have smaller leaves and
> flowers.  Maybe fertilizer is indicated.  From casual experience, it
> appears Babiana and some South African bulbs can be successfully ground
> grown in locations where there is little summer water.  I am experimenting
> with a couple of Gladiolus species in the ground.  Roy is entirely wise in
> using the 30% shade for most.  In my case, I plant where they can get shade
> from trees and shrubs.
>          Careless gardening.  While I weed conscientiously, I rarely
> fertilize.
> Besides many of the genera listed by Roy, I grow or have grown, in the
> ground (many from seed):
> Iridaceae: Alophia drummondi, Belamcanda, Crocosmia, Gynandriris, Sparaxia,
> Ixia,  Freesia, Sisyrinchium bellum, S. augustifolium, S. macrocarpum. Iris
> pseudopumilum, I. unguicularis,and several Pacific Coast Iris species and
> hybrids. Particularly exciting are the Oncocyclus Iris and their bearded
> iris crosses. The Sacramento Valley with its comparatively light winter
> rainfall and hot dry summers, combined with sandy soil and sloped beds
> allow the growth of these exquisite Irids.
> Amaryllidaceae:  Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Cybistetes (never bloomed),
> Eucrosia, Sternbergia, Zephranthes, Sprekelia (shade), Hymenocallis (not
> well), Nerine bowdenii, Crinum and Amarcrinum, Pancratium, Clivia, 
> Cyrtanthus.
> Liliaceae: Ipheion, Allium, Tricyrtus, Tulbaghia, and Lilies.
> Araceae:  Arisaema, Arum italicum.
> Compositae:  Dahlias, when planted in a deep hole (like potatoes) and
> gradually filled, tend to survive winter in the ground.
> Primulaceae:  Cyclamen sp, not all in the ground.
> Haemodoraceae:   Anigosanthos (Kangaroo Paws).  They have survived two mild
> winters, but the real test will be when we get our 25F degree winters.
>          Lachenalia sp have done well in pots outside this winter.  I agree
> with Richard that they may not be ok in the ground in the summer because of
> summer dry requirement.
>          Genera that have been entirely unsuccessful in my experience, in
> the ground and pots are Erythronium, Trillium, Fritilla, and Lycoris.  The
> latter often disappear totally after one or more years.
> Kind regards,  Joyce Miller
> Joyce E. Miller   mailto:onager@midtown.net
> Zone USDA 9A Summer highs 100+degrees F for several to many days.  Winter
> lows 27 degrees F 
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