Monday, July 8, 2013

Bulbs and More Bulbs

Blooming of Lycoris squamagera -- or is it Amaryllis belladona -- reminded me how much I enjoy bulbs in the garden. I found a pale pink Crinum blooming that looks a lot like the Lycoris I showed earlier in the week, except one has gold colored stamens and the other has gray turning to black. The very tips of the petals are a tiny bit different. The end of one's buds are a bit blunted as compared to the other.

The real give-away is the foliage. The one on the left has none when it blooms, just a naked stem.

I love lists. I made myself some bulb family lists.

Amaryllis Family:
Crinum  from the tropics
Lycoris and Narcissus from Europe
Amaryllis from South Africa -- not our Hippeastrum that we call Amaryllis, the real ones.
Hippeastrum, Rhodophiala and Hymenocallis from the Americas
Sternbergia -- a Mediterrerean bulb, sent me by Barbara in Texas. Blooms in fall, looks like crocus.
Agapanthus from South Africa is lumped with the Amaryllis family by some scientists.

When we study bulb families,we may get a clue as to which are more likely to be eaten by deer and other garden varmints. Members of the Amaryllis family taste bad, among others.

Calla Lilies


Most of these families have many other members.
I just list the ones important to me.

True Lilies but not Daylilies

Asparagus Family:
Lily of the Valley
Onions, Garlic, Leeks
Orchids including Vanilla Orchids

What all these have in common is that they are monocots and have bulbs, corms or some kind of modified root structure like rhizomes or tuberous roots for food storage.

 Whoops! Almost left out one of my very favorites. Kniphofia also called tritoma, red hot poker, torch lily, or poker plant, is in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae, native to Africa. I can't grow Bulbine in the same family for more than a season or two before root knot nematodes in the soil gets to them, but Kniphofia so far has thrived.

I've almost narrowed my fall bulb order to some special ones and favorite colors.

Notice the little grassy foliage in the bottom left pot with Begonias?
That's Muscari from two winters ago. It appeared after all the rain. I am definitely trying that again as
potted bulbs. I think they grew before with Violas. This time they won't have to share a pot.

Who is your favorite bulb vendor?

1 comment:

  1. My favorite bulb vender is Old House Gardens. I love trying the heirloom varieties.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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