People Still Dig Protected Bulbs

Judy Glattstein
Mon, 05 Sep 2011 06:50:15 PDT
In an e-mail from my sister in Israel:

"Pictures of blossoming squill have been featured in local newspapers 
and though they are a protected plant, my dentist dug up a couple while 
camping on holiday for a week with his family. He potted them in a deep 
container and patients like me, gazing out the the glass door to the 
balcony of his major examination room, can enjoy the thin elegant spire 
that each one boasts."

I was somewhat surprised that my sister didn't say anything negative 
about this. There have been other occasions when she writes of the 
iniquities of taking protected plants or their seeds. Granted, back in 
1973 when she and her family made aliyah and our parents visited them, a 
Cyclamen persicum tuber that had fallen out of a roadside back was 
brought home to me. (I still have it, significantly larger, and reliably 
flowering early every winter.)

Is it O.K. to rescue such plants that fall by the wayside? Should they 
be replanted into the bank, waiting for the next road crew to disinter 
them again? Should such no-digging-involved, likely-to-die plants be up 
for grabs? Construction and livestock are more deadly.

That same year, 1973, my husband was working in Holland. The children 
and I (plus 2 cats and a dachshund) joined him for the summer. We had a 
long weekend in London. I made an outing to Colonel Mars nursery in 
Haslemere, and recall an absolute heap of cyclamen tubers laying on a 
groundsheet next to a path. For sure they were collected material.

Trillium grandiflorum an absolute sheet of white visible from the car as 
we drove along Route 80 in Ohio in early May, in the early 1980s. Not 
there the next year. Ticky tacky little houses had replaced the forest.

An old USDA pamphlet on propagation / growing bulbs had directions for 
raising trillium from seed with thorough, detailed instructions: sow 
fresh, leaf appears 2nd year, thin out and space thus and such, space 
more widely in 4th or 5th year, blooming plants in 7 years. Yup. If you 
do this, and do it every year - in seven years and every year thereafter 
you have sturdy, healthy, nursery raised plants. Don't sow any seeds and 
in seven years you have what you started with. Nothing.

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