Bloom in winter

Jim McKenney
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 09:24:55 PST
Here's one more new one to add to the list: Crocus hermoneus is blooming
here in the cold frame. Late blooming Crocus goulimyi and C. longiflorus
continue in the same frame. In another frame C. cartwrightianus in a
white-flowered form is putting up more flowers, Crocus ochroleucus continues
and another accession of Crocus longiflorus is blooming.  

Iris unguicularis continues to put up buds and blooms. This one is not in a
cold frame but is placed against the house wall in the open air. 

I brought the Lachenalia in last week, but there is so far no sign of bloom.

There has been no sign of usually early blooming Galanthus elwesii this
year. I have home-selected clones which I call my Thanksgiving snowdrop and
my Christmas snowdrop because of their approximate bloom times in some years
- but not this year. 

Blooms are not the whole story here: the wintergreen Arum are very handsome
now. Several big clumps of Arum italicum in the open garden are very
cheerful. I accidentally dug into a clump of Eranthis hyemalis the other day
and could plainly see the flower buds.  

Little Ambrosina bassii, which grows in the protected cold frame, was in
bloom at this time last year; this year it is still putting up lots of new
foliage. It looks bigger and healthier this year, and I expect it to bloom
later. Notholirion thomsonianum has a nice rosette of foliage up in the
style of a small Madonna lily. Foliage of Tulipa saxatilis is slowly
reaching full size. Foliage of Amaryllis belladonna is about a foot long,
the several Nerine have leaves about six to eight inches long, Lycoris
radiata foliage is full grown, as is that of the various Sternbergia, Acis
and other winter green amaryllids (although the various Narcissus are in all
stages of growth). Tecophilaea cyanocrocus, now in its third year here, has
a nice sprout on the way up. A Cyclamen from a seedling which appeared in
the pot of a plant obtained from John Lonsdale under the label C. cyprium is
making much better growth now that it's in the ground and out of the pot. On
re-reading that, I realize that it gives the impression that there might
have been some doubt about the name of the plant John supplied. No; I killed
that plant, and before I could throw the pot away this seedling appeared.
Ornithogalum reverchonii has foliage about a foot long so far. 

The vivid foliage of Asphodelus acaulis seems to glow: it's the apple of my
eye now.  

This year I'm trying a Grand Soleil d'Or tazetta Narcissus in the cold
frame. I'm pleased that it is growing very slowly and not rushing into

And in the refrigerator that tiny scrap of Colchicum variegatum (from the
plant from Janis Ruksans) has turned around beautifully and produced a
strong sprout. This plant grew well here, but late in the summer the dormant
corm collapsed and most of it disappeardd. A tiny piece of the foot (maybe a
half inch by a quarter inch) seemed alive but soft. It went into the
refrigerator right away, and after several months it has finally decided to
grow well.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where a witch hazel is in
full bloom and buds are swelling on the wintersweet and there are still
Camellia sasanqua in bloom. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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