Getting through the first summer

Jim McKenney
Wed, 03 Mar 2004 07:00:04 PST
Cynthia Mueller wrote:
>The "easy" seeds I have started with, such as Hippeastrum x's, H. mandonii,
>rainlilies, calla lilies, Roman hyacinths, 

Cynthia, can you tell us more about your Roman hyacinths? 

Here in my garden in Maryland I have what I believe to be a true Roman
hyacinth; I've had it for a long time - it was received under the spurious
name Hyacinthus rommanus (sic). I was much younger then, and such a species
snob that I was very disappointed to have received what was obviously a
cultivated plant. 

Over the years it has persisted and increased, and it is now one of my
favorite plants. It's nothing to look at, but the scent is wonderful.

For those of you who don't know them, Roman hyacinths are a distinct form
of Hyacinthus orientalis, the garden hyacinth. They produce multiple flower
stems and the individual flowers are widely spaced in comparison to the
dense placement of typical garden hyacinths. They were common in the trade
before the Second World War, but even then were being replaced by treated
garden hyacinths (so-called Cynthella hyacinths, which in turn have now
been replaced by the Festival sorts, and are not to be confused with
Cynthia's hyacinths : )     ).

My plant produces flowers of a dull blue; it's no beauty, but it produces
one of the best fragrances of the year. 

Cynthia, what are yours like? 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland zone 7 where temperatures are topping 70
degrees F and the peepers have started! 

At 07:39 PM 3/2/2004 -0600, you wrote:
>Dear Joe,
>The "easy" seeds I have started with, such as Hippeastrum x's, H. mandonii,
>rainlilies, calla lilies, Roman hyacinths, and Cyrtanthus and Ammocharis
>from the very small sprouting seeds we received thru the seed exchange, all
>stayed inside their first year of life in community pots, then went outside
>for summer exposure.  One colony of Cyrtanthus (very small plants) were set
>out about l - l/2 inches apart in 5 inch pots, sunk into another, larger pot
>to give more stable surroundings, and then were kept up in the greenhouse
>(which did become very hot in the summer, but was decent in the winter)
>where they had plenty of opportunities to be watered.  Another pot was
>placed outside on the north side of the house but under the eaves where
>there was little chance of extra water except for blowing rain.  The pots in
>the greenhouse have leaves two and three times as long as those kept
>outside.  Hipps stay in square plastic containers about 5 x 8" until they
>are a year old.  Keeping them together any longer means their roots will be
>in a permanent fused tangle.  Then they are planted outside in small knots
>or clumps in the border.  Some bloomed the second spring.  Probably most all
>of a large batch of about 60 will bloom this spring.  I'll send images.
>Those that bloomed as two year olds had red or pink dots/ streaks and red
>margins,  on pink or white backgrounds.  They all have beautiful colors, but
>most won't win any beauty contests because the petals don't overlap, or
>otherwise offend by being narrow.
>Rainlilies take off and become mature quickly outside when also planted out
>in small clumps or knots.  The fertile ones soon are blooming and throwing
>off seedings right and left.
>I haven't had much experience with touchy desert growers that demand
>completely dry rest periods - but the things I did try did better when they
>stayed in the greenhouse their first year.
>The Roman hyacinths were really mixed up.  They sprouted in the spring, grew
>and were planted out with leaves about two inches or more long in the fall,
>then either went dormant or gave up the ghost in the winter.  No sign of
>them now, at a time when the parents are blooming and setting seed, and have
>completely leafed out.  Either they have become mixed up, or the armadilloes
>ate them.
>Cynthia W. Mueller
>College Station, TX
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2004 9:02 AM
>Subject: [pbs] Getting through the first summer
>> Hi,
>> I live in an area of hot and humid summers; I've lost winter-growers when
>> put seedlings outside for summer.  I've also lost them if I let them go
>> dormant; they just didn't have enough reserves for the first dormancy.
>> Now, I keep them indoors under lights for the first summer if they are
>> sorts.  I keep them on the dry side but still growing.  I think they would
>> like cooler nights than I give them, but as long as they have some air
>> conditioning they mostly do OK.  I keep wondering if there is a better
>> Are there guidelines for how hot is too hot and how much humidity is too
>> much?
>> How do other folks in hot summer climates deal with this?
>> Cordially,
>> Joe, zone 9, Narcissus 'February Gold' is blooming in the lawn.
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