Undependable Garden Bulbs

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 05 May 2008 22:04:15 PDT
Rodger Whitlock, gardening somewhat north of me in the Pacific Northwest, 
listed as undependable (i.e., difficult or impossible to establish) some 
bulbs I also have trouble with. The big snowflakes (the ones still in the 
genus Leucojum and not transferred to Acis) do not flower here though the 
plants hang on. I attribute this problem to a fast-draining mineral soil 
that I can't keep adequately moist in summer. I can't grow Tricyrtis well 
either, and I attribute this to slugs, even though the new "safe" baits 
have reduced that problem significantly. I no longer have double Galanthus 
nivalis: could the stocks be virus-infected? The single one flourishes.

As for daffodils, they do very well here despite the presence of narcissus 
fly, which is a pest in the bulb frames to the extent that I now cover the 
sternbergias with Reemay by mid-spring. I've been told that bulb fly is 
unlikely to lay eggs on plants in the shade, but even my garden narcissus 
in the sun seem largely unaffected. The garden snowdrops are mostly in the 
shade and seem not to be attacked. Perhaps the sheer volume of plants 
present is some defense. (The insects seem not to have emerged yet this 
year, which has been cold late into spring.)

That said, I've also lost certain hybrid daffodils quickly, but I suspect 
some of them are not very cold-hardy. Rodger's garden is a bit warmer than 
mine in winter, though, because he's closer to the ocean and at a lower 

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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