February 22, 2008

Lesser winter bulbs

Asphodelus acaulis

This small, winter blooming bulb is the perfect candidate for a potted alpine bulb collection for an alpine house, or a plunge bed. Somewhat hard to come by, this plant comes from Morocco and it produces these pure cotton candy pink flowers which grow on a very short stem. I have had this plant for three years and it is starting to create a nice, multi-crowned plant. The foliage is lax, and somewhat protrate, if not alpinesque in appearance, although, not actually an alpine. This is also not technically a bulb, but rally only rarely available from those few retailers who sell extraordinarily rare or unusual bulbs,suc as Paul Christian in London. This is more or an geophyte with strange, fleshy storage roots, which allow the plant to go dormant during the hot, dry, moroccan summer. Not unline an Eremurus, actually, but much smaller. The Asphodelus flowers open on sunny days in the winter, around late January or February, and given the high production of bud, we will be enjoying it's pink lily-like flower until true spring.

Ornithogalum fimbriatum var. Oreadra
This year I was fortunate to acquire three names forms of Ornithogalum fimbriatum, and this is the first to bloom. Unlike the more Wal-Mart-y Ornithogalums, this baby is less trailer park, and more Kew. I will get a better shot on a sunny day, when the flowers all open like white waterlillies, but on a snowy day like today, one can also enjoy the apple green outside markings on the petals. All kidding aside, I am smitten with all of the Ornithogalum speces, trashy or not. But these 'fimbriated' forms, ( see the serated outlines on the leaf?) are terrific alpine subjects for a collection in a cold greenhouse.
I grabed a quick shot of some of the interspecific Clivia which are now blooming. I leave for Japan this Wednesday, and these remind me of the seeds I brought back a few years ago, since, these are them. First time blooming, from Mr. Nakamura's Breeding Plantation. Mr Nakamura and Shige are great hosts, when I visited, and the hundreds of Clivia seeds which we brought back are all starting to bloom, I am so excited. Although, I may miss many of them due to this trip back.Perhaps a few will make it into the New England Spring Flower Show this year, if they hold off.

Nerine undulata

Some Nerine species are still blooming, and this dainty species with undulating petals is proof of the name. ( syn. N. alta). It is much more graceful than it's showier cousins, the N. bowdenii and N. sarniensis that bloomed in the autumn. Of course, there are a few much showier relatives that I hope will bloom soon, but maybe next year.

Margaret takes a nap, recovering from her throat surgery last week at Tufts University Hospital. Poor Muggles, has a serious Larynx problem. But, for now, the laser surgery went well, and at least she can breath a little easier, at least for a while, but we still can' t leave her alone.


  1. Hi my name is Yvonne and I love your info and photos, I have just started gardening (last year)so find your stuff very interesting and helpful. I planted some bubs in November but am not sure when to start in my garden here in Ohio in Spring, your help would be appreciated, I do have photos of my garden from last year. I just love the photo of Margaret taking a nap, I have a wonderful one of one of my cats laying under a tree after I mulched my bed garden!!

    I would love some help in finding out when to plant stuff this year, last year, it was a bit of a hit and miss, but worked ok!! Thank you so much and I enjoy you website so much, Yvonne, Marietta, Ohio

  2. Love the pics......that Clivia is really nice.....such vibrant colors. "Muggles" that is so cute!!

  3. Wonderful pics!! I love the pink one. "Muggles" that is adorable....very cool name for a dog.


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