Favorite Red Flowered Bulbs--TOW

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Tue, 15 Jun 2004 09:34:46 PDT
Mary Sue Ittner, in discussing Lilium pumilum, said:

>nominated for the favorite 
>yellow flowered bulbs unless it comes in yellow too

Yes, it comes in yellow, and the yellows are still making the rounds. They
are among the older species variants, mentioned in most of the early
twentieth century lily books in the days when species lilies were just
about the only ones grown. 

Here are my favorite red flowered bulbs:

1. red tulips
2. Tigridia pavoina in red
3. Gloriosa superba/rothschildiana
4. Lilium grayi
5. Anemone coronaria

I would have listed Dichelostemma ida-maia, but I'm not convinced that it
is hardy here. Some catalogs give it a zone 5 rating, but I darkly suspect
that that rating is based on potential sales and not long term proven
performance. I would like to hear what others say about this. 

With respect to tulips, it was impossible to choose among them. In a pinch,
I might pick Tulipa eichleri as an all time favorite. 

The Gloriosa grows like a weed here and is a sure hummingbird magnet. It
will survive the winter outside near a wall, too. It also sets seed here
freely. Also, it's a true hot weather plant: the flowers last and last in
our 90 degree F heat. Hard to believe it is a Colchicum relative, isn't it?
But then, take a look at some Colchicum corms - e.g. that of C. baytopiorum
- and you'll see a resemblance. 

Lilium grayi is the great treasure among our eastern native lilies. When I
was younger and first saw a modern color photograph of true Lilium grayi
(older books often illustrated a grayi x canadense hybrid under this name)
I thought I was looking at a columbine. 

5. Anemone coronaria for it pure, pure, pure red. In case I have not made
the point, this is one of the reddest flowers I have seen. There is a
wonderful contrast between the satin of the top side and the hairy back.
Anemone fulgens is very nice, too, although it's been years since I've had

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where I'm a bit red in the
face from frustration because of all the red-flowered favorites I had to
omit to meet the limit of five. 

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