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Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer must be coming?

Summer must be coming because the Gladiolus are starting to bloom!

Gladiolus tristis
The marsh Afrikaner

This is going to be a lame post, because I am super busy. If only it was as easy to clone myself as it is to clone plants! I would have four of me, one to tend the garden, one to fix the proverbially broken tractor, one to mow the lawn, and then I could just sit back and enjoy my daughters softball games!

Seriously stay tuned though, because I'm working on a riveting expose of the infamous Fritillaria biflora X purdyi complex that is not to be missed.

This weird bulbous geranium thing that ate the label also reminds me of summer. The pot is literally so crowded with bulbs I think it sucked the label down and devoured it.

The weather: It's been off and on, like a light switch. It's supposed to get down into the 30's for lows this week. But next week they are saying a high of 84! Try explaining that to the tomato seedlings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Playing favorites

"Man-despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of top soil and the fact that it rains".....great quote from a seed catalog, author unknown

Fritillaria recurva
From A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers:
Note the 1-5 widely separated nodding bells are orange-red with yellow spotting and a yellow interior. The 8-10 linear leaves are in 2-3 whorls near the stem center. 1-3'. Dry open woods. SW. OR., California North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada.

What a beauty......I probably should mention I have a bit of a fetish for yellow-orange spotted flowers, Hence the fascination with Mimulus and Pardanthopsis and the like. I really like this plant, for one it's native to Oregon, which is of course the greatest state around. Plus it just stands out in a field of plum-brown-green flowered relatives.

Lewisia tweedyi
With a whole world of flowers out there, of course it's impossible to pick a favorite, but I have to say that the two species above certainly come near to the top of the list! This is a wonderful old L. tweedyi, I started it from seed about 9 years ago and it spent much of life in a long tom plunged in a sand bed. It eventually cracked the long tom to pieces and when I went to pull it out the 2" diameter root had made it's way through the geotextile groundcloth 2' below. I split it into 6 pieces and they have all come through the move, but this piece takes best in show.

Finally starting to feel like spring is here! Temperatures forecasted to be in the 70's this weekend. Started harvesting the first of the Asparagus I started from seed 3 years ago. The purple sprouting brocolli that overwintered was delicious for dinner and it was topped off with some sesame oil, oven roasted kale chips.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day

Fritillaria whittallii
Mr. Charles Hervey Grey in the three volume Hardy Bulbs 1938 has this to say:
A native of Asia minor, collected by Whittall on the western Taurus Mountains..It flowers in March-April, and is in cultivation at Kew. It is obviousely very nearly allied to F. meleagris, and it seems to me doubtful whether Baker was justified in giving it specific rank on the strength of its orbicular nectaries.

Fritillaria persica
I really like this plant, maybe because it's different. But Mr. Grey sure bashes it:
A Native of Western Persia and Armenia....It flowers in April, and is a dissapointing plant. The great tuft of leaves and long stem appear to promise so much, but the flowers are lamentably small and insignificant. I have never known them to set seed, and, although the plant is easily grown in a well-drained gritty soil, I question whether it is worth growing in gardens...

I for one love it, it's different, but the flowers are beautiful and it's tough enough to grow outside with little care....I don't ask much more of a plant.

Fritillaria liliacea
Mr. Grey: found on grassy slopes from Sonoma to Santa Clara county California, It flowers in April and is very scarce in cultivation. It is a charming plant resembling F. agrestis. in everything but scent-on a smaller scale. It should be grown on a hot gritty slope.

Anemone apeninna 'Petrovac'
I got this when Jane and I split an order from Hoog. I don't really know much about it except that it does well in an open raised bed without much care.

Tax day has come, I personally get mine done in late January or as soon as I have all the documents in. If you are one of the ones waiting in line at the post office right now, well then you will have to read this tomorrow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Obscurity and a competence. That is the life that is best worth living" Mark Twain

Well, I suppose if there are no winners there a no losers. The trivia question is now closed, no takers to the challenge, no free bulbs to be given away. So be it.

Wonderful spring break get away to  Southern California, Disneyland with my daughter, sister, niece, nephew and mom and dad. Pretty great memory that will be. Drove the coast route almost all the way back with stops in Monterrey to see cannery row, Carmel, Half-moon bay, San Francisco. A nice sunny california break from the weather around here it was.

Fritillaria persica
This one has been growing out in this raised bed for the last 3 years. This is the first year it has bloomed for me. Rod Leeds, states in the "Plantfinders guide to Early Bulbs" that Frost does not kill this handsome plant, but leaves it bent and unsightly. I would say this is true as I noticed after the last late frost, that many of the leaves curled and twisted.

Fritillaria pontica
From the Balkans and Turkey, this species is said to grow in semi-shaded woodland habitat.

Fritillaria purdyi
For some reason this picture reminds me of a Nomacharis I saw in the Garden of Dr. David Hale of Portland.

Fritillaria collina?
This doesn't seem to match the martyin and rix description of collina at all? Anyone?

Fritillaria orientalis
From limestone gorges and rocky woods of the North Caucasus. This one doesn't want to bake dry all summer.

More coming very soon. I would say I'm nearing the peak bloom for this season, almost everything open with more on they way every day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Anya and I area headed northbound on the 504 train to Portland, how cool is technology now days that you can post to your blog while sitting in the comfort of rail travel....?

Anyway, we are headed to disneyland for spring break so this will be the last post for awhile.

 So here is the trivia challenge for all my blog followers while I am away.

The picture above has Narcissus hispanicus ssp. bujei and Fritillaria nigra blooming in an outdoor bed.
The trivia question is, can these two species occur in the wild together.
I can't seem to find much on the Narcissus subspecies, so maybe you will have better luck than I did researching it. Anyway, the person who puts the most evidence to prove or disprove whether these two species occur in the wild together gets two bulb credits.

Bulb credits can be redemeed for bulbs when the catalog comes out in the fall!

Put your answers/evidence in the comment box on this post. Winner will be determined when I get back from Spring Break.

Now off to southern California for a bit, then driving up the coast for an appointment in Half Moon Bay, after that its' easter with the family at Clear Lake California.