Ready for the bulb party

Jane McGary via pbs
Sat, 18 Feb 2023 16:48:02 PST
Just finished weeding the path through the center of my bulb house, 
heartened by a few species in flower and a great many emerging in a 
promising way. The bulbs are getting ready to throw a party, and I hope 
somebody other than yrs. truly will come. If you live nearby, write me 
privately (don't post to the list) if you'd like to see what can be 
grown in a roofed but otherwise unprotected situation in the maritime 
Pacific Northwest. Significant flowering should start 3 or 4 weeks from 
now. If I hear from enough people, there will be snacks! Coming on this 
early for my private delight are some crocuses, including the 
interesting C. alatavicus, C. veneris, and C. cyprius; the first 
flowering of Fritillaria karelinii, sown in 2014; a bit of yellow 
showing on Narcissus albimarginatus, and 4 of 5 other earliest spring 
Narcissus species. Gymnospermium, a tuberous dicot, is in flower both in 
the bulb house and in a raised bed outdoors; hope a few of you got it 
from the BX last summer.

Today the sun emerged about noon, and I had anticipated this by watering 
the plants in the bulb house. A few hours of sun and a light breeze have 
dried the foliage so it won't go into a cold night damp. We're 
threatened with a deep freeze (21 F) next Wednesday and Thursday, but 
these plants have faced that before, some for decades. Even several 
fritillarias from coastal or island Greece routinely emerge and flower 
at this time, making me wonder if their resilience derives from some 
ancient time when their ancestors experienced more cold. F. striata from 
southern California had its foliage well developed by early January and 
has suffered no damage, but it comes from fairly high elevation. The 
Rhinopetalum fritillarias are all early, and mostly from steppe regions.

Now if we can just get through to spring without an ice storm!

Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA

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