BULB LOG 09
The pure white of crocus malyi, in the bulb house, matches the snow cover in the garden. All the snow we had got washed away by rain at the weekend but today it has returned just like they forecast. Why is it that the forecasters always get it correct when it is bad weather and rarely when predicting fine sunny days?
Crocus malyi is also perfectly hardy and we grow it in the garden but it is always nice to have some under glass to enjoy.
I am always excited by the appearance of seedlings and last year this pot of corydalis had a poor germination with only two seedlings appearing. These have reappeared this year as notched leaves but I am also delighted to see many first-year leaves as the other seeds are germinating after waiting for a year.
I bought a small plant of Corydalis paczoskii two years ago and was disappointed when the flowers did not open fully last year, but this season they have settled down and are now flowering well.
I grow two forms of Corydalis wendelboi the one on the left is very short and compact while the other, to the right, grows nearly three times taller. To date I have only grown these under glass but I do have pots of seedlings, now into their third year, growing in a seed frame that is open for most of the year, so I do think it will be hardy in a well drained sunny bed.
I am fascinated by the way the water droplets form on many of the Corydalis in the bulb house and especially on Corydalis nudicaulis - there are never any signs of these droplets on the other bulbs in the same plunge. My question is do they form as dew on the surface of the emerging leaves and buds or are they exuded from the plant?
I should add that these plants have not been watered recently.
A view in the corner of the glasshouse that we call the 'Gothenburg annexe' (as it houses many bulbs that came from that great botanic garden) shows that we are still have many of the winter flowering narcissus still flowering.
Narcissus albiflorus x romieuxii SF126
This floriferous little bulb came to us as Narcissus albiflorus x romieuxii SF126 and is different in the way the yellow fades at different rates as the flower ages. The colour stays more intense around the edges and along the ribs of the petals and the tube giving it a bicoloured look - also the corona rolls back on itself.
We are also seeing the first of the true Narcissus bulbicodiums coming into flower. It is the bulbs of the large showy Narcissus bulbicodium conspicuus that we most commonly see offered for sale but I am especially fond of the smaller wild forms, I will come back to these in a future log.
Closely related and barley distinct from N. asturiensis is Narcissus jacetanus which we raised from seed collected about five years ago. The seedling bulbs started flowering two years ago and each year we get more flowering which is showing us the range of shape in the flower. It would seem that the corona has a waist about half way down its length and a wide frilly opening.
Narcissus cantabricus occidentalis SF16
Narcissus cantabricus occidentalis SF16 is just at its peak of flowering and with its crystalline white widely flared corona and a heavenly sweet scent this is one of my all time favourite forms of cantabricus. It is important to remember to fertilise these flowers if you want to get a crop of seed. I have not seen any bees or insects this year and so I have been out with the paint brush on a regular basis, transferring pollen from the anthers to the stigma.
The very first of the Jonquilla section to open a flower is Narcissus cordubensis which also has a beautiful sweet scent. These taller growing narcissus look great when growing en masse but I like to single out a single bloom to capture the elegance of the form when taking its portrait.
Things are moving quickly in the frit house and I will have a closer look at the early frits next week but just as a wee hors d'oeuvre to whet your appetite I will leave you with a picture of Fritillaria alburyana.
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