carefree garden bulbs

Diane Whitehead
Mon, 28 Apr 2008 18:26:13 PDT
Winter: November to March

Snowdrops  Galanthus elwesii  I have one form that begins flowering in  
the fall and carries on through Christmas, but most flower in January  
and February.  They are very variable if one takes the time to look  

Spring: March and April

Little Blue Flowers  (the flower equivalent of Little Brown Birds) -  
they started out with various names of Scilla, like S. sibirica and S.  
biflora and Chionodoxa luciliae, seeded, hybridized, and cover almost  
the entire half acre.  I think it is safe to call them XChionoscilla  
allenii, but I'm sure you can't buy that - you probably have to  
produce your own.

Erythronium dens-canis - my many named forms imported from Europe all  
seem to be the same pinky-mauve, but they flower a lot earlier than  
our natives, have nicely marked leaves,  and creep to form patches.

Anemone nemorosa - I have an unnamed form that produces very long  
rhizomes and therefore gallops across the garden. Most of my named  
forms produce much shorter rhizomes and therefore increase modestly.   
There are enough forms to interest a collector.

Erythronium oregonum and a hybrid between oregonum and the pink  
revolutum.  Beautiful upturned white or pink lily flowers, and dark- 
blotched leaves.  These do not increase vegetatively, so it is a long  
wait for seedlings to flower.

Trillium ovatum, native to my property.  I need to protect its flowers  
from deer so that it can set seed.

[I am not including Big Blue Flowers:  Bluebells, Endymion hispanicus,  
which is winning my war against it]

Summer:  May to September

Polygonatum x hybridum  yes, it spreads, but it is so graceful with  
its tall curved form.  It is delightful to see customers carrying pots  
of it in flower at local Mother's Day plant sales - all across a  
gymnasium, you can see the bobbing flowers, high above heads.

Convallaria majalis - another spreader, but oh! the scent.  Lily of  
the Valley is open for Mother's Day every year.  I have two forms with  
striped leaves, and they don't spread nearly as much as the plain- 
leaved one.

Summer to frost, which usually comes in November:

Dahlias -A number of years ago I bought seeds of a scented one (Hy  
Scent) and a black-leaved one, and they produce masses of single  
flowers till frost, and occasionally seed themselves.

Schizostylis coccinea, South African, like a miniature gladiolus in  
shades of pink, salmon, and red, plus a weak-growing white.

Fall: September and October

Gladiolus papilio - a rhizomatous South African.  The flowers are drab  
shades, but there is a yellow one with a red blotch that I have on my  
want list.

Diane Whitehead
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8, cool Mediterranean climate
mild rainy winters, mild dry summers

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