Bulb and seed sources

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 30 Apr 2006 16:43:29 PDT
Geoffrey Barnier wrote about poor germination with seed from the Archibalds 
this year.

I had not brought this up but had been wondering if I should. I always buy 
a lot of seeds from them, and until this year it germinated about as well 
as I would expect of "difficult" species. This year, however, the 
germination was very poor. I planted all the seeds at the same time as some 
home-saved bulb seeds, which germinated at a rate I would think of as 
normal. I wondered if the Archibalds had sent out older seeds this year 
because of the disorganized state of their business during their rebuilding 
project, or if perhaps the seeds had been mistreated by the US mail. The 
fact that Geoffrey is in Australia seems evidence against my suspicions of 
the Department of Homeland Security -- though certainly Australia is 
suspicious about seeds too.

That said, I don't think we should give up on this premier source of bulb 
seeds. Indeed, I don't plan to give up on the ones I planted last fall. 
Sometimes when seeds are stored in a certain condition or for a longer 
time, it triggers a deep dormancy that takes more than one season to break 
after planting. I know that the seeds I get from one source which arrive 
around February take an extra year or two, even though February planting 
here offers what should be adequate moist chilling.

The seeds in this year's Archibald shipment that did germinate quite well 
were mostly in the Hyacinthaceae (e.g., Bellevalia).

When we have a list such as that of the Archibalds, with its hundreds of 
choice items obtained in very small quantities, it doesn't seem reasonable 
to expect the kind of viability testing performed on annual and vegetable 
seeds by, say, Jelitto. It would be reasonable, however, to lower the price 
of older seeds, as Ron Ratko does.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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