Tulip delight - T. sylvestris

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Thu, 27 Apr 2006 10:43:25 PDT
I can second Jim Waddick's comments about Tulipa sylvestris based on my
experience with it here in Maryland. 

Years ago I used to take lunch break walks through the community where I
then worked. It was an old community, with some houses still retaining what
for all the world looked like old Victory Gardens and shrubs popular fifty
years or more ago. 

In one of those gardens I saw a huge patch of Tulipa sylvestris which
covered several square yards. There were very few flowers but hundreds,
maybe thousands, of single leaves. 

In my own garden, Tulipa whittallii and Tulipa clusiana chrysantha behave
the same way. They form dense mats of single leaves with few flowers. The
foliage covers many square feet of ground. The rhizomes romp freely through
parts of the garden and rarely produce blooming size plants. 

The patch of Tulipa whittalli had been at this for so long I had forgotten
what it was. So several years ago I started a campaign to feed the clump and
built it up. I was eventually rewarded with a few flowers, and now I know
again what it is. This clump grows in the dense shade of Magnolia stellata,
the bulbs wedged in the thickly matted roots of the Magnolia.

If you've ever seen the typical forms of Erythronium americanum growing in
the wild in this area, you know how these tulips grow: thousands of leaves
and one or two flowers. 

Jim McKenney
Montgoemry County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Iris tectorum opened a
first flower this morning, Iris 'Dardanus' is showing bud color, and
Brodiaea terrestris and Muscari comosum are also starting. 

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
On Behalf Of James Waddick
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:06 AM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: [pbs] Tulip delight - T. sylvestris

Lee wrote:

>I've tried T. sylvestris, but it never endures. This may be because it
>doesn't like growing in pots for more than a few seasons.

Dear Lee et al;
	I can't imagine growing T. sylvestris in a pot. It is one of 
my favorite 'weeds'. Let me explain.

	A friend gave me a few bulbs a number of years ago and said 
they do 'best' in shade so I planted them there. Well they sure GROW 
well in shade. I have a "sod" of tulip foliage 1 or 2 leaves per 
bulb, but few flowers.  After transplanting to a sunnier site they 
produce plants 4 times the size with nice size bright yellow flowers.
	In shade they are actively stoloniferous and have invaded the 
lawn and wandered around a shady spot. In sun they are well behaved, 
multiply modestly and bloom regularly.

	In both sites they are trouble free, but they do move around, 
a behavior that suggests they'd be unhappy confined to a pot. On the 
other hand, in the ground there they might escape your property if 
they grow as exuberantly in your mild climate as say 'Ipheion'.

	Ths is one of the few tulips to do so well in shade.

		best	Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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