The bulbs which perennialize

Jane McGary
Sat, 02 Oct 2010 08:53:09 PDT
Max wrote
>There are red Tulips on Crete that I would dearly love to try, though I've
>never seen them in the trade, e.g., T. doerfleri:

T. doerfleri is the "outlier" of the Cretan tulips -- the other 
three, T. cretica, T. bakeri, and T. saxatilis, are regarded as 
conspecific by some botanists. They do look quite different from one 
another both in the wild and in cultivation, and they  seem to prefer 
different habitats. T. cretica grows right down to the coast, but the 
others are plants of the stony middle elevation parts. T. bakeri is 
the largest-flowered of the three, and T. doerfleri is about as 
large. T. bakeri and T. saxatilis are widely available, and T. 
cretica is remarkably easy from seed, flowering sometimes in the 
third year from sowing. I usually have seed of it for an exchange, 
though this year the rabbits got it all. T. saxatilis perennialized 
in my Oregon garden in the Cascade foothills, secreted among rocks to 
foil the voles; I haven't tried any of the others outdoors. In nature 
T. saxatilis and T. cretica tend to grow in rock formations, avoiding 
rodents that way no doubt, while T. bakeri flourishes in cultivated 
fields if the grazing animals are kept off them at the right season. 
I saw T. doerfleri growing in the meadow below the rocky outcrops 
where T. saxatilis grows; perhaps it likes richer soil and/or more 
moisture. In any case, all of them get some winter chill.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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