Colchicum -Hello

Jim McKenney
Sun, 21 Sep 2008 15:55:15 PDT
Early blooming Colchicum in great variety are now flowering: C. parnassicum,
C. psaridis, C. variegatum, C. bivonae, and such hybrids and garden forms as
‘Violet Queen’, “bornmuelleri of gardens”, “tessellated Giant”. ‘Lilac
Bedder’, ‘Poseidon’,  ‘Disraeli’, ‘Nancy Lindsay’ aka pannonicum,
‘byzantinum’,  ‘Innocence’ aka ‘byzantinum album’, ‘Gracia’, × agrippinum,
‘cilicicum purpureum’ – I doubt the name, and probably others I’ve forgotten
(or for which I don't have names I trust). 

Sternbergia lutea is full of bloom now. The five other autumn-blooming
Sternbergia I grow (in pots) were watered for the first time only last week
and have not yet come into bloom.  

Nice complimentary colors for the colchicums and sternbergias are provided
by asters such as ‘Island Barbados’ - a dwarf form about eighteen inches
high with blue flowers -  Aster amellus, A. oppositifolius, Eupatorium
coelestinum (so-called hardy ageratum), and Ceratostigma (two species grow
here, plumbaginoides and griffithii).  

Rhodophiala bifida is now past bloom here – the withered flowers are still
there but they have lost their beauty. Amaryllis belladonna is doing
something, but I don’t the bit of green I see emerging is a spathe. Nerine
sarniensis ‘Corusca Major’ is still dormant, as are Pancratium and
late-blooming Lycoris. 

Scilla scilloides is still blooming. I saw a local garden recently where
this species has run wild and become a serious weed. 

I saw a handsome group of  ×Amarcrinum blooming in a northern Virginia
garden last weekend. Driving by, one might think it was a three foot pink
Hippeastrum. The five or six plants were well spaced to give each plenty of
room, and the big inflorescences made a great showing.   

The little bog orchid gardeners call Pecteilis radiata (Habenaria radiata)
began to bloom this morning – that’s nearly a month later than in some
years. This is the so-called Egret flower and is a tiny charmer.  It grows
from corms about the size of a sweet-pea seed and is very easily grown.  

Not geophytes but related: Tricyrtis ‘Moonlight Treasure’ with yellow,
upright, typical toad lily flowers and Tricyrtis macrantha, with pendulous,
yellow. bell –shaped flowers speckled red inside like some Fritillaria.
Tricyrtis macrantha is one of the gems of the autumnal garden here and is an
ideal companion for the autumnal gentians (a combination I have yet to
effect here).   

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where the last blooms of Gladiolus callianthus for this season are now
fragrant and sweet autumn clematis is just past full bloom.  
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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