April 25, 2006


After one of the dryest springs ever, we finally recieved two inches of cold rain this week. It allowed to me replant some of the smaller troughs, for a photoshoot for a friends trough company, as well as an opportunity to move outside of the greenhouse, some plants which could use the micronutrients of the nitrogen-rich rain. Noticel the early Alpine garden Auricula blooming in the larger trough? This form appears to have a nice deep, almost black-purple blossom, but next to it is a favortite Narcissus species of mine, the tiny, tiny Narcissus rupicola.It's hard to see it in the above picture, but look carefully, there is a daffodil there left of the primrose, but I warn you, it is teensy. And it is a must-have, since everyone who sees this wants it.

Native to Spain and Portugal, N. rupicola is has a blossom no larger than a dime, and next to this uncommon form of the GRape Hyacynth, Muscari talifolia, it does indeed seem somewhat out of place, but it's fragrance is so powerful for such a tiny bloom, and sturdy in the hard, cold rain. Unfortunatly, if you want to find N. rupicola, it is a species is absolutely difficult to find here in the U.S.. Occaisonally, a specialty grower will have a few, but at auctions, the price quicly goes over $25.00. Some species and other forms are available from the specialty growers in Europe and England, such as Broadleigh Bulbs and Pottertons Bulbs. Also, N. rupicola can show up at your local plant exchanges and auctions where collectors share plants, try your local Rock Garden Society, that is where I tend to find mine. The typical yellow Jonquils that are in bloom everywhere right now, have nothing on this tiny treasure.

Speaking about tiny treasures... in the Rock Wall, a unusual yellow form of another miniature species, Iris pumila, is blooming. This unnamed cultivar is collected from a garden in Russia, where there seem to be more yellow I. pumilla than the typical violet forms. This plant is only two years old, and has already spread to a 1 foot wide clump, which is no taller than 4 inches in bloom. The bright yellow Iris falls and standards really stand out against the still-grey garden, but this is one plant that will surely become a mess in the rains.

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