BULB LOG 44 -- 2nd November 2005
Autumn is upon us and even though the temperatures are high for October, the leaves are looking fantastic, especially the several acers we have around the garden which are all orange and scarlet.
My love hate relationship with Colchicum 'WaterLily' surfaces every year when it produces its great big double flowers. I definitely prefer my bulbs with the correct number of petals but I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for this mutation.
The stone in the background is one of many small stone sculptures that we have around the garden.
It is amazing how well Nerine bowdenii grows in our area. We only have a few small clumps but there are gardens near us where the owners have obviously grown it for tens of years dividing it from time to time and as a result both sides of their drives are lined out with hundreds of pink flowers giving a spectacular effect. It is one bulb that needs to be planted half out of the soil to get it to flower. Plant it at any depth and it will only produce leaves until, after a few years of growth, the bulb reaches the surface and then it will flower.
A nice pot of seedlings, well, I say seedlings but these bulbs have been flowering for about 4 years now but they are still in their seed pot. I get away with this neglect because they get their roots out of the pots into the sand and get nutrients that leach into the plunge from other pots. I must repot them next year.
Crocus banaticus 'Snow Drift'
One of the white forms of Crocus banaticus is the beautiful 'Snow Drift'. I received some bulbils of this a couple of years ago and promptly lost them. It was not that they had died, I had just potted them up and had no idea which frame I had put them in, never mind where in the frame. I do this all the time and I have learnt to be patient and eventually they will flower and be found again just as I found this pot today.
Crocus ochroleucus albus
Another unusual white form of a crocus is this Crocus ochroleucus albus which has no yellow in the throat and also has white anthers. The small single corm I was given a few years ago was slow to build up but now it has produced a number of flowers and it looks like I will find more than one corm next summer when I repot it.
I think the peak flowering time of the autumn crocus is nearing an end and Crocus longiflorus is always among the last to flower for us.
On the other hand we have several pots Crocus laevigatus raised from garden seed that will flower all through the winter until the last one flowers in February.
A couple of flowers in a seed raised pot of Crocus robertianus show the variation in the flowers, one with wider overlapping petals.
Narcissus, do not adjust your monitor
Yes the flowers are out of focus and this is typical of what happens when you photograph a white flower with an auto- focus camera. The auto focus systems work by sharpening areas of contrast and as there is little or no contrast in a white subject, they never get it sharp.
Narcissus cantabricus foliosa
This is the reason that I bought a digital camera that allows me to focus manually and so I can achieve sharp pictures of white flowers like this Narcissus cantabricus foliosa, always the first narcissus to flower with us.
Narcissus cantabricus foliosa x2
This is the same flower, fully open and pure white on the left and looking like a completely different plant with almost yellow flowers a few days earlier. This is not a trick of lighting or the camera playing up; they do look yellow when they first emerge and turn pure white after a day or two. If you think this flower is early I checked back and it opened at exactly the same time last year.
Arisaema seed heads
Back to the autumn colours with these Arisaema seed heads which I will collect eventually but they look so pretty lying there and as I have mentioned before nothing touches them - neither the birds nor the mice seem interested in eating them.
With strong winds and heavy rain between the bright sunny spells the leaves will not stay on the trees for long and for a few days we can walk around on the most fabulous coloured carpet of leaves before they go brown and soggy.
^ back to the top ^