BULB LOG 15 13th April 2006
Corydalis penza colours
The corydalis is really coming into bloom in the garden now and the colour variation is wonderful. Perhaps the most variation in Corydalis solida is found in the Penza seedlings which we originally got from Janis Ruksans. Whites are the more unusual and we are lucky to have two different forms from this seed batch - I have found that seed from a white form is more likely to result in white seedlings but not exclusively. Frankly I like them all, even the dull purples, when you are going for group plantings provided you have some whites in among them. It is the odd white corydalis that lifts the group and makes all the colours blend and work together as a harmonious group.
Corydalis solida and malkensis
To make up for our shortage of white forms of Corydalis solida we allow the creamy white Corydalis malkensis to seed around - here it is seeding in front of a very dark form of solida.
Corydalis malkensis and Beth Evans
A large group of self seeded Corydalis malkensis growing with the early pale pink Beth Evans. It is always interesting to see how much effect the weather has on plant groupings. I would not normally expect Leucojum vernum to be still in such good condition as it is here when these corydalis are in bloom but the cold weather has held it back and the occasional warm day has brought the corydalis out. Corydalis 'George Baker' usually comes into bloom just before 'Beth Evans' goes over so we get a nice overlap but this is also weather dependent. If the conditions stay cold 'Beth Evans' will have gone over before 'George Baker' comes out.
Corydalis in fish box
I have mentioned before how mixed up some of these corydalis are - this is not 'George Baker' although it is very similar. This is selected seedling that holds its flowers very well (which we are bulking up in a fish box trough) which got an outing to the Edinburgh Show last Saturday.
Out in the frames Crocus pelistericus is in good flower now well ahead of its close relative C. scardicus. These two, depending on the weather, can sometimes flower together or peilstericus can be well over before the first scardicus flower opens.
Narcissus cyclamineus in frame
In the same frame Narcissus cyclamineus continue to look good despite all the snow, rain, frost and wind that has been thrown at them. It is a real tough wee plant and perhaps the swept back petals and long very narrow tube of a corona are an adaptation to protecting the anthers and stigma helping this wee narcissus survive such extremes of weather.
Narcissus perez-chiscanoi is what I would call a medium sized daffodil, it belongs to the Pseudonarcissus section. Named by Fernandez Casas and subsequently (2000) treated as a synonym of N. hispanicus. When the taxonomists keep changing their minds what chance have the rest of us got of getting the names correct?
Narcissus jonquilla 'Elit'
The bulb house is full of the scent of Narcissus just now and a big contributor to that is Narcissus jonquilla 'Elit'. It is a fine form of the jonquille which can have as many as four flowers to a stem. It is easily grown provided you give it plenty of water while it is in active growth, you can start to reduce the watering after the seed pods have swollen to their full size.
Not all the Narcissus are looking so healthy - Narcissus Snipe has a good going dose of the spots all along the corona. This is caused by the cold damp weather and will not effect the growth of the bulb but it does deny us the true beauty of this choice bulb for this year.
Bulbs for foliage
Out in the garden bulbs are appearing everywhere and I was taken by the foliage effect of these three,colchicum, erythronium and fritillaria. People often complain about the leaves on bulbs - 'they are ok when they are in flower but then you have the leaves to put up with': what planet are they from? They do not say the same about other plants, they need to get converted and learn to enjoy the leaves on the bulbs as well as the flowers.
Fritillaria raddeana is pretty capable of taking most of what our weather can throw at it. I have seen its stems lying flat on the ground in a hard frost but they simply rise up slowly without any damage as the temperature rises - wind is its big enemy as strong gusty winds can snap the flower stems. Luckily it is fairing well this year and is in good flowering form now.
There are always surprises in the garden and this wee Eranthis cilicicus was one of them. I half remember being given it last year but completely forgot where I put it until it appeared in this bed, flowering beautifully.
Erythronium sibericum album
The erythronium season is starting and my first disappointment is that some beast has been devouring one of our pots of Erythronium sibericum album. Several of the leaves and flowering stems have been well chomped off. I have spread some slug pellets around as I know there are slugs and snails there but from the way they are eaten I also suspect I have a subterranean caterpillar as well.
Erythronium hendersonii in frame
A wee look into one of the erythronium frames to whet your appetite for the erythronium extravaganza to follow in the coming weeks - always among the first to flower is Erythronium hendersonii.
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