Oxalis, Scilla, Scilla

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Mon, 11 Aug 2008 16:58:53 PDT
Here's a Marylander's take on these three.

Oxalis articulata (aka rosea, crassipes) grows here in both pink and white
forms. Years ago when I first acquired these I was concerned about their
winter hardiness. I've never lost them during the recent mild winters, but
during last summer, which was extremely dry, two clumps utterly disappeared
and there has been no sign of oxalid life since in those spots.

Jim, I'm amazed that Scilla peruviana survives for you. Years ago, when our
winters were much nastier than any recent winter, I repeatedly lost it.
There used to be a local garden shop which brought in crates of them each
fall. These plants would surge into growth in the autumn, and the resulting
foliage would invariably be destroyed during the ensuing winter. More
recently I've seen it thriving in local gardens: in one garden in particular
this year I saw huge plants much bigger than anything I've ever grown
myself. You mentioned that it blooms for you at the end of May. The plants
here, which grow in a protected cold frame, bloom in early April. Those huge
plants I mentioned above were still in bud in late April. 

A quibble about the name: what's bizarre about it? Clusius named it to
commemorate the ship (the Peru) which purportedly brought it to England.  

You also mention: "It certainly looks good with the naked stalks of pinkish
flowers, but the earlier period of senescing foliage is a different matter."

Reading that reminded me that I have to 'fess up about something. In a post
last year about this plant, I mentioned that the foliage emerges after
flowering time and survives the winter and dies down in the spring.
Actually, it does no such thing. The foliage is above ground only for a few
months in the autumn: it dies down with the arrival of really severe
weather, and new foliage does not appear until the next autumn. I gave
everyone a generous year to pick up on that, and not one soul did. This must
be a very polite group - polite or something. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where Tigridia pavonia is blooming. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
BLOG! http://mcwort.blogspot.com/
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society http://www.potomaclilysociety.org/

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