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BULB LOG 34 --- 20th August 08

Colchicum flowers

I have spent another week concentrating on cutting hedges and pruning trees so I have not done very much work on the bulbs however I could not fail to notice this beautiful display of Colchicum flowers as I sat down for a cup of tea.

Colchicum tessellated hybrid

This is one of my favourites among the bigger Colchicums we grow and being grown in a box these bulbs are flowering a bit earlier than the ones in the garden beds.

Codonopsis in Rhododendron

This is the same species of Codonopsis that I showed last week, this time it is growing through a small Rhododendron. We normally do not let climbers grow through the dwarf Rhodendrons because they can very quickly do great damage to them or even kill them if they are left on too long. Tropaeolum speciosum is the worst offender and has to be removed regularly from our rhodos but Codonopsis grey wilsonii does not have the same detrimental effect and we are happy to leave it for the short time it is in growth and enjoy the stunning flowers.

Cyclamen hederifolium album

While dropping branches from the trees and hauling them to the shredder we have to avoid damaging the many flowers appearing now on our Cyclamen hederifolium album plants. Cyclamen hederifolium album always flowers well ahead of most of our pink Cyclamen hederifolium forms, I do not know if this is a general trait or if it is just that we have raised our forms an early flower strain. Reports on the Forum suggest the white forms tend to be earlier.

Cyclamen seedling leaves

I also notice that the Cyclamen seedling leaves are appearing in the gravel areas where I have been scattering masses of Cyclamen seeds of all species over the last few years - these look like young Cyclamen hederifolium leaves.

Cyclamen and Narcissus leaves

It is not only the cyclamen leaves that are appearing but also Narcissus leaves.

Narcissus bulbocodium leaves

Here at the edge of one of the moist beds you can see some well developed Narcissus bulbocodium leaves. I find that if the conditions are cool and moist Narcissus bulbocodium hardy goes dormant at all and the new roots can start forming as the old leaves start to go yellow and, if the summer is cool and wet, as it has been, then the new leaves can appear in August.

Trillium chloropetalum seed pod

The sight of the Trillium chloropetalum seed pod reminds me that I need to collect the seeds - but alas in this case I have been beaten to it. Once I had taken my photograph I went to pull the seed pod off and rather than the firm full seed pod, all that came away in my hand was the outside skin. All the contents including the seeds had been removed through a small hole at the bottom of the pod out of view in this picture.

Trillium erectum seed pod

Having been trumped, I quickly went on to check the other trilliums including this beautiful T. erectum with its red fruits.

Trillium seed pods

This is the best crop of seed I have had from these lovely colour forms and I look forward to seeing its off spring flower.

Trillium seed in pod

This seed pod is particularly moist inside and I like to clean as much of the sweet sticky contents off the seeds before sowing them.

Newspaper and Trillium seed

One method of cleaning seeds contained in berries is to mush them up in between layers of news paper - continue moving them to clean bits of the paper until the seeds are clean.

Seed in sand

My preferred method is to mix the seed and pulp into sieved dry sand.

Trillium seed

Leaving the sieve on the tray I rub the seeds in the sand with my fingers then lift and shake the sieve to be left with some nice clean seeds ready for sowing.

Trillium grandiflorum seed pod

Just as well my attention was taken by the lovely red fruits on the trilliums above because it made me go and look at my group of pink Trillium grandiflorum and I was just in time to recover most of the seeds. When it is ripe the seed pod just falls off the stem onto the ground where the seed is quickly scattered. Ants or other insects would distribute these seeds in the wild but as we have no ants in our garden and the wasps are not attracted to this species as they are to some of the others we grow.

Leucojum roseum

A few of the early flowering bulbs are showing now like this lonely single flowering stem of Leucojum roseum in a pot of two year old seedlings.

Crocus scharojanii flavus

Also the beautiful Crocus scharojanii flavus reminds me that the Autumn Crocus season is approaching and I need to get back to repotting and preparing the bulbs for the first storm……

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