April 25, 2007

Corydalis solida

Corydalis vittae

Janus Ruksans amazing catalog, is a must-have for any rare bulb connoisseur which you can obtain by writing him directly (he doesn;t have a web site) at: Ruksans Bulb Nursery, Rozula, Cesis District, LV-4150, Latvia. You may try emailing his nursery first, to see if the cost of $5.00 per catalog has risen, or insert a $5.00 US bill in the envelope. It is worth the investment for Corydalisphiles alone. Besides Corydalis solida forms, of which, Ruksans offers, like thirty or so, there are other bulbous species worth collecting. And since they reseed, if you don;t; mulch, then they are worth the investment,(and, they are an investment $$$$, as may rarer plants are). That said, everyone who visits our garden in March, exclaims 'My God...what are THOSE?". These are ephemerals with an attitude, yet understated enough to appear natural.

If you are not familiar with Corydalis, the genus is quitfascinating, closely related to the common bleeding-heart, but these memebers are smaller, and althrough the trend through the 1990's was tpward collecting the newly introduced blue forms, plant geeks are starting to focus on the bulbous species, particularly Corydalis solida and related species. In the USA and Uk, the named form of C. solida 'George Baker', may be the only handshake a home gardener may have with this genus, since it is often the only cultivar available in the trade, and by 'trade, I mean in the US bulb catalogs. These are not plants that one will find at garden centers. They are ephemeral - a quick pop-up in the early spring, a blast of color, off to seed, then they dissappear for the rest of the year, where thier nut-like bulb stays protected in hopefully, dryish, soil conditions. Similar to crocus.
So, if C.solida 'George Baker' is nice enough, and certainly worth seeking, although don't count on getting the authentic "George Baker' unless you are assured that it is a clone, since this is a genus notorious for cross pollenating, although any pink form is generally nice enough in this gem of a genus, the real 'GB" is extraordinary in it's color expression. Most catalogs in the US< if you find one, carry forms that are pinkish-grey, or mauve. Still,nice. The real GB is coral, and stockier, see the below photo. The real GB (from Ruksans) is on the left, the taller, mustyer one is a GB from a US source. Corydaliss-ness
Will the real George Baker please stand up?

Plan of ordering bulbous corydalis in July through September, in the fall bulb catalogs, and plant them in October.

In the glass house, the last of the winter blooming South African bulbs are blooming, remember most of these are grown from seed imported, since the bulbs are unavalilable. These orange Tritonia crocata are brilliantly colored, but like many S.A. bulbs, they bloom as the foliage passes, so overall, I may not keep these. sad, since they took 5 years to reach blooming size!

The Primula season is starting due to a little glitch with global warming, or cooling, whatever...., and here we are, just less then two weeks before the New England Primula Show (May 5,6,7 at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA, ), and our Primula are just starting to bloom, here, a lesser known species, in the Auriculacastrum group, is Primula hirsuta, a species that is a little challenging to grow for most people, since it blooms at high elevations, at snowmelt, near melting glaciers. A species which we most likely will not see on our trek through the Engadine Alps next month, this jewel is liking our trough near the greenhouse, where Fergus, our Irish Terrier pee's, apparently not unlike an alpine Swiss Glacier.


  1. Oh, now I didn't need to know about the corydalis catalogue! That's just mean!

  2. Gorgeous blog! I don't know whether to be more jealous of your blog design and presentation or your plant knowledge... no, wait, yes I do -- your plant knowledge by all means! But, they complement one another to a tee. Do you have a photo of the type Corydalis solida?

    Jacqueline de Floris


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