Jane McGary
Wed, 06 Apr 2016 17:08:02 PDT
Visitors here often exclaim that they never thought of growing bulbs 
from seed. Certainly it calls for more patience than buying a 
flowering-size bulb. However, the pleasant surprises patience can bring 
you are welcome.

Last year my reward was seeing Fritillaria chitralensis in flower for 
the first time; it repeated well this year. Pretty, but so similar to 
Fritillaria raddeana that I have to enjoy its rarity alone, rather than 
evoking gasps from visitors.

Last summer I lifted the bulbs that I had set as young seedlings into 
the hollows of the concrete bricks that surround the bulb house's raised 
beds. I was pleased to find 5-year-old bulbs of Tulipa regelii, grown 
from Archibalds' seeds. Now growing in a half-plunged clay pot, they are 
displaying their interesting pleated leaves, but it will probably be at 
least 2 years before they flower.

Yesterday, while plucking out some weeds, I came face to face with an 
unfamiliar frit. At first I thought it was an odd color form of 
Fritillaria viridea, which grows in another part of the bulb house, but 
lifting a flower disclosed dark purple-brown marks at the bases of the 
tepals. The Jepson Manual (flora of California) and a look at a photo on 
the AGS Fritillaria Group website identified it as Fritillaria 
brandegeei from the Kern Mountains of California. I expect the seed was 
a Ron Ratko collection, and the label is buried somewhere under the 
gravel topdressing around it (it has a nice big new one now). I seem to 
have only one plant, but it belongs to the same group as Fritillaria 
affinis and Fritillaria recurva, so it probably has plenty of rice-grain 
bulblets on the bulb and can be increased from those. Its area in the 
raised bed is due for replanting this summer, so I'll find out.

Despite all this to interest me, I was still searching the internet this 
morning for a source of Erythronium japonicum. I think the only hope of 
getting it will be a Japanese seed vendor ... and a lot of patience.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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