Wiki Narcissus pages

Jane McGary
Thu, 02 Aug 2007 16:26:50 PDT
I must get busy and add some more photos to the wiki soon, but right now 
repotting the bulbs is taking all my attention (list out in about a week!).

On the subject of Narcissus, I wanted to point out a hint I found in Janis 
Ruksans's new book "Buried Treasures" (Timber PRess, and every one of you 
will want it). He writes that a deep mulch of pine needles helps deter bulb 
fly from attacking Narcissus. This European pest is well established now in 
North America and although I check my bulbs carefully when I lift them, I'm 
ashamed to say I have sent out some bad ones in the past, which I will 
certainly replace if notified. I just moved all the Sternbergia species 
into a corner of the frame and am going to install window screen over them, 
high enough that they can flower and extend their foliage under it; I 
should have done so with the Narcissus also but there are a great many pots 
of them, perhaps it's the next protection project; however, I can collect 
pine needles (a neighbor's planted pines seeded copiously into one of my 
meadows) as a mulch and try this. Another hint is that planting daffodils 
in the shade deters the fly to some extent.

I can't understand how it is that the bulb fly does not attack the hundreds 
of ordinary daffodils in my garden, but homes in on some rare species in 
the frame. I haven't lost the sternbergias in the open, either, nor the 
snowdrops, which are also preyed on. This past year I covered susceptible 
plants in the frames with Reemay before the flies appeared, weighing it 
down around the edges with sand, and found no infestation in pots so 
treated, but I think the window screen, well above the plants, is the answer.

I've now put all my crocuses in their own sections of the frames with 
aviary wire (small mesh chicken wire) tightly fitted over the sections. The 
first section so treated completely escaped the invasion of deer mice that 
devastated the crocuses a couple of years ago. It is, however, ugly and 
difficult to weed through. The crocuses easily raise their leaves and 
flowers through the wire, and a well-filled pot in full growth looks all 
right, though impossible to lift and take to a meeting for display.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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