The oporanthous garden

Jim McKenney
Fri, 19 Aug 2016 06:24:43 PDT
Here we are in the middle of August and hardly a peep on the listserv about oporanthous bulbs.
Nhu's call for reports about Amaryllis belladonna has gone largely unanswered, and I have not seen Lycoris mentioned once recently.
At the end of July a huge storm passed through the eastern states dumping loads of water and causing regional flooding. Ellicott City, Maryland was particularly hard hit. As I was driving home late at night Saturday, July 31, I passed a small pond where the tree frogs were really going at it. When I got home, I called Wayne and told him about the frogs: we hear them now and then, but never in numbers like the rains brought out. He got his camera and a flashlight and headed on foot up to the pond and got some nice videos of the frogs calling. You can see and hear them here:…
Within a few days of the heavy rain, reports began to circulate about Lycoris squamigera scapes being on the rise; before the end of the week, they were in bloom here in the greater Washington, D.C. area. They are still blooming, and I've heard reports about L. longituba and L. sanguinea blooming, too. 
There are also Zephyranthes blooming: those big bulbs of Z. smallii received from BX 402 soon popped into bloom: This Zephyranthes has the oddest flowers I've ever seen on a member of this genus: they have the cupped shape of a tulip rather than the amaryllis shape of the others I know. And it has a great fragrance. I'll try to send some seeds to the BX. 
The rains also brought up the first two ×Amarcrinum of the year. These are hardy here and make great garden plants. But my plants have been a bit shy about blooming. 
Lots of gesneriads are blooming now: Achimenes and various Sinningia (tubiflora, selowii, hybrids such as 'Scarlett O'Hara' speciosa in wild and cultivated forms). I grew up thinking of Sinningia speciosa as a greenhouse plant requiring pampering: in fact, it does very well as a garden plant during the frost-free season. 
I bought dozens of Achimenes, and so far not one has turned out to be true to name. What a bother - but true to name or not, they are very beautiful.  Evidently, there are some very keen Achimenes growers in Russia: several YouTube videos that I've seen lately have given me new ideas of what these plants are capable of. 
Achimenes pedunculata from a BX offering a few years ago (thanks Uli!) has really come into its own this year. It has produced a rigidly upright stem not at all like the floppy hybrid sorts: it looks robust enough to use in a garden border. It's not in bloom yet but I have big expectations for it. 
We're in that part of the year when it's very easy to think of things inside which must be done - and to avoid going out into the garden. Daytime highs are over 90 degrees F (we've topped 100 on several days) but the killers are the nights when temperatures do not drop below 80 degrees with humidity. I break down and run the AC during these conditions. 
My Nerine have me puzzled: during the last few weeks, all of the old foliage has been dying off. But almost all of the plants are retaining newer, healthy,  dark green foliage. They don't look like they are about to enter dormancy.  
I still have some gladiolus corms which I have not planted. I'll try to get them in this week. The idea is to see if I can get plants blooming in late October for my birthday. I'll let you know what happens. 
Off topic (unless there is a caudex in the tub): a plant of Ipomoea indica has swarmed over and covered an 8'x8' wall space - so far, there is no sign of blooms. Uli's Ipomoea lindheimeri, stored indoors last winter, survived the rat attacks (but did get gnawed down) and has produced a handsome plant this year. This one is definitely a morning glory: the large, light blue flowers start to wither at about 9:30 A.M. 
Jim McKenneyMontgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where my order from the Aril Society International arrived yesterday: exciting stuff here! Yesterday, I went out and checked my clumps of Iris kirkwoodiae and I. iberica and they look fine: the rhizomes are firm and promising. 

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