Mayan calendar and colchicum cultivars

Rodger Whitlock
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 09:38:07 PST
On 21 Dec 2012, at 17:42, wrote:

> It is the 21st. in New Zealand, we are still here!!!!

No, you aren't. The crazies were right. The world ended. Minor problem: what 
has come after the end is indistinguishable from what was there before.

Happy 14th baktun!

Somewhat like Colchicum cultivars that are much of a muchness (to use a serious 
Briticism: it's amazing what decades of life in Canada has done to my 

One difficulty for those trying to acquire cultivars of nearly any bulb: the 
stocks of many of them are badly confused and scrambled, making it close to 
impossible to be sure you have what the label says you have. A friend who 
interned at Wisley for a couple of years in the late 1980s told me that at that 
time their bulb collections (crocuses and, iirc, colchicum, in particular) were 
badly scrambled.

The problem is compounded by surprisingly vague descriptions, the sensitivity 
of flower color and growth habit on cultural conditions, and to a degree simple 
dishonesty. At the end of the day, you pay your money, plant the bulbs that 
arrive in the mail, and if what comes up pleases you, you keep it, otherwise 
you give it away to your enemies. (When presenting such gifts to your enemies, 
always include a label so that you can sneer at them in later years when they 
exhibit under the wrong name.)

In the case of seed-grown species, a lot of seed in the exchanges is mis-named. 
I recently had seed-grown "Crocus minimus" flower; it's almost certainly Crocus 
laevigatus. And years ago "Tecophilaea cyanocrocus" turned out to be that pest 
of pests, Nothoscordum inodorum, which took a long time to eradicate once it 
seeded. (Apologies to those who've read this rantlet before, but the experience 
still rankles.)

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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