Late summer bulbs (was Oporanthous bulbs)

Jane McGary
Sat, 20 Aug 2016 11:37:21 PDT
I trust Jim McKenney will forgive me for substituting plain English for 
his neologism "oporanthous" (I cannot trace it back any further than an 
old synonym for Sternbergia, and the only way I can derive that is a 
crasis form of a Greek phrase meaning roughly "O, flower hard to get," 
which in these days of CITES is rather apt).

Nonetheless, in my plain American garden a number of bulbs are flowering 
a bit ahead of schedule, possibly because of the very warm late spring 
just past. Cyclamen graecum is flowering in the dry part of the bulb 
house, but not in its tufa-based bed in the open garden. Cyclamen 
hederifolium is starting up, mostly growing on the root zone of two huge 
Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii, the curse of the Northwest garden).

The first colchicum was Colchicum kotschyi (under cover), followed 
closely by another medium-sized species, Colchicum hierosolymitanum ("of 
Jerusalem"). The Merendera species, or Colchicum if one lumps them, 
haven't appeared yet, perhaps because I lifted and potted them to escape 
a drainage problem where they were growing. The first in the garden is 
the large white cultivar 'Innocence', formerly known as C. byzantinum 

Acis autumnalis (which has a subsp. oporanthus) has popped up in the 
bulb lawn, where perhaps the turf keeps it cooler than its other spot on 
the rock garden. A few Prospero autumnalis (syn. Scilla autumnalis) have 

Thanks to Joyce Miller, I now have some Crinum, probably the pink and 
white forms of Crinum x powellii, and they flowered a couple of weeks 
ago. I hope I can keep them going, but adequate moisture will be a 
challenge. They should be a bit hardier than tuberoses (Polianthes 
tuberosa), which has opened in its pot and must be kept dormant indoors 
in winter here--a lovely fragrance on the patio at night, mingling with 
the breeze-wafted honeysuckle.

Not many western American bulbs flower at this season, but there is an 
odd onion, Allium sanbornii, which produces its dark pink flowers now, 
long after its western relatives have gone dormant. I grow it fairly dry.

Sternbergia (syn. Oporanthus!) has not flowered yet, but they survived 
the aforementioned drainage disaster well, and I have some to send to 
the BX next week. Please share them equitably!

Jane McGary

not gardening today, it's far too hot in Portland, Oregon (but the 
humidity is 15%)

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