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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some early spring Narcissus

So the story goes something like this: Narcissus was a proud and beautiful hunter in Greek mythology, He disdained those who loved him. Nemesis lured him to a pool where he saw his reflection, fell in love with it and could not look away and there he died. some tellings of the story had that he fell in and drowned and some that he simply died of starvation entranced at his own reflection. Up from where he died sprang the beautiful spring flowers of the daffodil.

I'm not going to venture a guess at how many species are in the genus. But as a whole they all contain the toxic alkaloid Lycorine which inhibits protien synthesis upon ingestion. There has been more than a few poisonings as people have mistaken the bulbs for onions.

It's hard to beat a flower that blooms so early. Even though we are still deeply entrenched in winter at the end of January, it's refereshing to walk into the greenhouse and smell the fragrant early bloomers, and see the bright whites and yellows

I present here a few of the earliest in my garden at least.
Narcissus cantabricus ssp. foliosus
If my nose is correct this species has a very sweet fragrance, It caught me off guard on an overcast but mild late January day.

Narcissus romiuexii
Bloming in the greenhouse January 31st, 2012

Narcissus romiuexii 'Julia Jane'
Deeper yellow version of the Moroccan native that is said to grow in Cedar and Oak forests on limestome or basalt substrates

Narcissus albidus

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is spring here yet?

Ok, it's January 25th so I don't think spring could be here yet. However, the temperatures have been in the 50's this week and everyonce in awhile I walk outside and I think I'm feeling that unimstakable feeling I have felt 35 times before. It's kind of hard to describe but it's like a combination of smell, temperature, sunlight, and earth......It's hard to describe but you kind of know when you feel spring in the air. It doesn't hurt that the first of the spring blooming bulbs have popped up as well.
Narcissus cantabricus

A native of Southern Spain and Morocco, according to Mssrs. Phillips and Rix found," growing in oak and pine woods on limestone". It's also important to note that t the "stamens are always included in the corona, not projecting"

Perhaps this is why I feel that tinge of spring in the air? I visited an old friend and employer today and the subject of the first flower of spring came up and how that makes gardeners feel. Well, here is my first flower of the spring.

Of course, having just told you that the stamens don't protude from the corona, I find a picture from last year labeled N. cantabricus in which the  stames appear to protrude. It could just be the angle. One other thing to note is the previous picture was from a pot grown specimen in the greenhouse and this one is from a raised bed outside.
Narcissus watieri
Another native of Morocco and not blooming now, but just to remind you that much more is coming in the next few months.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 2012

Please do excuse my absence, the holidays took quite a toll and now mother nature has decided to deal her hand.

It has been an extra-ordinary week. 5 inches of snow fell on the nursery followed by 6" of rain, the rain falling at 50+ deg F. setting all time high temperature records for the valley. It doesn't take an expert to determine that this is a recipe for flooding.

Fritillaria montana

So Fritillaria montana doesn't have anything to do with flooding and isn't even blooming now as this picture was taken last March, but since this blog is about bulbs I thought I should inlcude a picture of one.

Regardless, the theme of the day is high water and while I did have some water in the crawl space I was spared the worst of it as others can certainly attest to. My day job is in stormwater for the capitol city of the beaver state. So needless to say I was busy. The state of emergency was declared and I worked 12 hour shifts from noon till midnight assisting citizens in the hardest hit areas. There wasn't a whole lot we could do as Mill Creek, a winding tributary to the great Santiam river decided to spill it's banks and find it's own natural course through hundreds of houses in the State St. neighborhood.

One poor lady standing at an intersection with a suitcase in her hand asked us "What is the plan", my aged hispanic co-worker chuckled under his breath, looked her in the eye and said simply "pray"......."pray it stops raining". The poor lady had just returned from a trip to Montana, to find her house under a 1' of water and she was walking the two blocks from her car in sneakers through sewage infested flood waters.

My ex wife lives in the little bed room community of Turner. the whole town was evacuated when Mill Creek, which meanders  like a snake through the town decided to over top it's banks. She had enough time to get home, pack up Lola the pug and  some clothes before sherrifs deputies started canvassing the neighborhood ordering people out.

She was one of the lucky ones, the water never reached her house, but on the news tonight the Governer was seen touring through devastated homes just blocks away where the water  had hit 3' in there homes.

Again, nothing to do with flooding but here is Chinodoxa "Valentines Day" only a few short weeks away from brightening up the greenhouse.

So eventually the flood waters receeded, after taking stalk, I was pretty lucky, while perched on the top of a hill some 600' above sea level, I still sit at the lowest point of the hung valley. I had water flowing through my crawl space for some days. But it never came close to causing any damage to my property. The greenhouse sits well above the ditch line and it would take a flood of Noah's proportions to ever hit that. At that point it wouldn't much matter since it would be the end of day's anyway....oh wait, god promised he wasn't going to off people that way again didn't he?