}

March 27, 2006

Erythronium, Fawn lilies and Dogs Teeth

Growing with Plants blog
Erythronium, Dog Tooth Violets

After admiring postings of Ian Youngs'pots of Dog's Tooth violet's, or Erythronium on the Scottish Rock Garden Society's (SRGS)bulb log for three years, and, after having the other SRGS members tell me that I was just so lucky to be living in America, where they are native apparently assuming that I could cultivate drifts of such rare bulbs, I decided last fall to invest in a few.

My experience with the Dogs Tooth Violets (so named because of the shape of the bulb), or fawn Lily (because many species have attractive mottled or reticulated foliage like a fawn) was limited. I do grow a patch of the yellow hybrid 'Pagoda' in the garden, but beyond seeing a native colony while hiking on Wachusett Mountain, where we go hiking, I have never attempted growing any. The most attractive species are native to the Pacific northwest in Washington or Oregon, the Cascades. There, I have photographed literally drifts of thousands in bloom at the tips of the melting glaciers on Mount Rainier and on Puget Sound.

I ordered handfuls of a number of species this past autumn, which I planted deeply a woodsy compost and in mesh baskets. I then plunged them into the new sand bed along the eastern exposure of the greenhouse, where they rested deep in the sand until the great sand bed disaster, or more correctly, MUD disaster last January.

I rescued all of my Erythronium baskets, and brought them into the greenhouse, and placed under the benches where it was cool. I believed all was lost, until a few weeks ago, growth started in some of the baskets. I immediately relocated them to the alpine plunges in the small alpine house, where they are starting to bloom. The pink form of Erythronium dens canis as well as the white Erythronium californicum are now the stars of the week (but don't tell the Pleione).
Erythronium detail

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