Tulipa 'Little Princess' and other delights; was RE: Tulip delights

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Mon, 24 Apr 2006 12:14:30 PDT
Tulipa 'Little Princess' is just past its peak here in Maryland. The orange
color in this cultivar matches exactly the color in Tulipa whittallii, and I
suspect that Tulipa whittallii or another member of the orphanidea group
might have been a parent of 'Little Princess'.

The companion cultivar, 'Little Beauty' is by now over; here it comes into
bloom a few days before 'Little Princess', but well after the general run of
Tulipa humilis types. By now, the Tulipa humilis group has finished for this

Several years ago I obtained what were nominally five or six distinct forms
or hybrids of Tulipa batalinii. When they bloomed, there were all alike!
These popped into bloom late yesterday afternoon and are very pretty now. 

Tulipa wilsoniana has been in bloom, but no typical Tulipa linifolia has
bloomed yet this year. 

Every Fritillaria which will bloom this year has either bloomed or is in
full bloom now. Fritillaria biflora 'grayana' opened yesterday, the last of
the frits to flower this year. 

On the other hand, the Calochortus season is just beginning with 'Cupido' in
full bloom and C. tolmiei also blooming - there are five other sorts waiting
in the wings to come on. 

Camassia leichtlinii is in full bloom - just in time to compliment the tree
peonies. Today is probably the peak tree peony day of the year for the
Japanese hybrids. The lutea hybrids are still in advanced bud. 

Tulipa 'Zurel', which is a fair approximation for the old Bijbloemen tulip
'May Blossom', is in bloom now. This 'Zurel' is one of the modern,
non-virused tulips marketed as substitutes for the old virused bijjbloemen
(and bizarre) tulips I grew forty years ago. 

The ornamental Allium I obtained in the '60s of the last century under the
names Allium rosenbachianum and Allium rosenbachianum album are coming into
bloom now. I'm not sure what the correct current names for these are. These
plants produce hard-ball sized inflorescences on 48' high stems, and I like
them as much as I do any of the other ornamental Allium.  

The big ornamental Allium are all rapidly advancing and should be blooming
very soon. 

Some hybrid lilies already show flower buds. And some of the modern super
lilies are producing stems bigger than any lily stems I have ever grown. Two
seem to be as big around as my forearm. Unless these are damaged, these will
easily go up to seven feet, maybe more. And I can count flower buds on
Lilium hansonii and 'Preston Yellow', an old hansonii hybrid. These are
ahead of even Lilium candidum. 

In the iris department, Iris cristata and I. verna are in bloom, and I.
tectorum is showing color (bloom tomorrow?). Tall bearded irises have scapes
on the way up (so do oriental poppies), and regeliocyclus Iris 'Dardanus'
has lots of scapes on the way up. Dutch iris 'Bronze Queen' and 'Eye of the
Tiger' should be in bloom any day now. 

Anemone coronaria is blooming, and Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal' is blooming,

Sessile and pedunculate Trillium are blooming, as are some Asarum. 

Cypripedium japonicum is taking the year off: there are no flowers this
year. In my experience, if I don't feed it, it doesn't bloom (it's in a very
lean mixture). I noticed the price of this plant in a current catalog and
realized that I'm presiding over a $600 colony. I should add that I have no
intention of disturbing that colony any time soon! 

The late Muscari, M. comosum and its presumed variety, 'plumosum', are
putting up buds.

I found a little Ornithogalum in the lawn recently. The flowers went before
I could get a photo - the plant is now about ready to mature seed. It was
superficially like O. umbellatum, but in bloom much earlier. O. umbellatum
is now in full bloom. Two other members of the genus, O. magnum and O.
reverchonii, have yet to show signs of bloom. 

If you don't know Ornithogalum magnum, you're missing out on the one member
of the genus I would call spectacular. Some garden visitors last year were
puzzled by it, and most assumed it to be an Asphodelus. It's that good.

Ornithogalum reverchonii may not be spectacular, but I expect it to be the
most elegant one I've ever seen - if it blooms. 

The garden calls - why am I spending so much time at the keyboard! 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the hummingbirds and
wood thrushes are back.


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