12 Christmas-flowering bulbs

Antoine HOOG antoine.hoog@tele2.fr
Tue, 25 Dec 2007 06:56:43 PST
Dear PBS friends,

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Brittany, France, where it is now raining


From 14th until 20th December we have had moderate frosts, with temperatures
falling to minus 6 Celsius in the polythene tunnel during 4 nights.


On Christmas Eve I looked around the garden to see which flowers had escaped
damage from the frosts and what would be in flower for Christmas this year. 


Obviously most flowering bulbs at this time of year are grown under glass or
polythene. These are the following: There are some remaining flowers on
Colchicum cupanii, this one originally from near Heraklion, Crete; flowering
now is Colchicum asteranthum, a very small species from the Peloponnese;
Colchicum brachyphyllum and Colchicum falcifolium both from S. Turkey are
starting to flower; the first is an old Ole Sönderhausen collection near
Gaziantep, the latter by Eduard Hanslik near Konya at 1700m. Colchicum
falcifolium somewhat resembles C. triphyllum with its wonderful rose,
campanulate flowers. Unfortunately they are both extremely slow to increase
and we never been able to share any of these.

A few Crocus laevigatus CEH.612 are still flowering, as are white Crocus
laevigatus from Crete. Crocus michelsonii is in early flower and is looking
in character due to the low temperatures. Last year temperatures were high
with low light levels and the flowers got drawn.

Narcissus cantabricus ssp. monophyllus from Andalusia, Spain is starting to
flower and also a taller form of this species we received from the UK
without details.

Galanthus reginae-olgae from the Peloponnese was flowering here in
October-November and has now finished. Also from the Peloponnese is its
subspecies , G. reginae-olgae ssp. vernalis of Kamari. At least this is the
name that I have for it up to now. A reference to mid-winter would have been
more appropriate than one pertaining to spring. It is differing from ssp.
reginae-olgae in the later flowering period, a taller and very straight
flower stem and a flower which appears to be particularly white. The foliage
is appearing considerably later than in the type. I see no reason to discuss
the silvery-white central stripe on the leaves of ssp. vernalis when this
feature is present to the same extent in ssp. reginae-olgae.

Galanthus peshmenii has been flowering already over a month and still is.
This occurs near Antalya in S Turkey and has been found up to 650m alt.

Turning to outdoors I can list early flower of Galanthus elwesii ssp.
monostictus in its clone from ‘Highdown’ and one selected from wild G.
elwesii imported in the 1980’s. Sir Frederic Stern called this G. caucasicus
var. hiemalis, but the name G. causicus belongs to a different species. 

Nowadays the Galanthus from Sicily is treated as a form of G. nivalis. We
received it as G. imperati and is recognized mainly by its early flowering
season. The first flowers have now opened. We also have another clone of G.
nivalis now in flower, we may eventually offer as ‘Christmas Wish’, provided
the name still is available.

The flowers of Crocus niveus alas were frosted to 90%. Few flowers remain on
the plants which now rapidly are producing the foliage. These unopened
flowers may stay firm but closed for several weeks at this time of the year,
when light intensity and temperature are too low for them.

Not bulbous, but flowering as well are Helleborus cyclophyllus, an early
form from Mt. Pilion in Greece, H. lividus from Mallorca (no frost damage!)
and an early form of wild Helleborus orientalis from the Caucasus, near


Happy gardening in 2008.


Antoine Hoog                USDA Zone 7                Average low: -8ºC

Le Houx

22150 PLEMY




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