Monday, November 27, 2006

If I Could Grow Ipheions...

Ipheions, or starflowers, are native to South America, yet fairly (meaning south of the Mason-Dixon line) hardy, but if you read the popular bulb catalogues, you can just pop them in the ground wherever you live, and stand back. I can't read any description of a blue flower without wanting it (yes, I tried a meconopsis once), so reading about the sky blue flowers of Ipheion Rolf Fiedler was too much for me, and two years ago I sprang for a half dozen bulbs. Well, I'm still waiting for the Wedgewood blue stars to grace my spring garden. I just went out and checked, and there were one or two little clumps of foliage (like many other hardy bulbs, it puts up its foliage in the fall), but I suspect Rolf Fiedler will continue to fade away. Well, now I was just scanning through a bulb forum, and someone in Ithaca, New York, which would be like Iowa with more snow, says that the Ipheions all do fine in their garden, except for Rolf Fiedler, which disappears without a trace. Specifically, they mention that another cultivar named Wisley Blue, has done well. It's too late this year (our temperature is to go from 66 degrees today with thunderstorms, to 13 degrees with snow in a couple of days), but I know what bulb I will be buying next fall. I would love to be able to write a really informative book on hardy bulbs in the upper midwest (of course, I'd also like to be six feet tall, but that's not going to happen, either).
At least this winter, while the snow blows down from the Yukon, I'll dream about someday having little sky blue stars gracing my garden... the cold winter gardener is ever optimistic.

I've grown these in Calif. when I lived down there (in the central valley). They are sooooo sweet. I grew mine in pots because the plants are so small. A wonderful little bulb.
Bob... are the blues as nice as they look (and sound)? I've thought about starting to grow bulbs in pots... I do have about an 8 x 25 attached greenhouse, which I hardly utilize. I sort of like a vacation from gardening in the winter, though.
Don, according to my receipts I planted Ipheion uniflorum "Wisley Blue' in the fall of 1998 here in Iowa City. It's never knocked my socks off. If it blooms this spring I'll let you know so you can take a peek at it. I don't remember it or my Chionodoxa being as blue as the catalog photos led me to hope. Imagine that.--Kim
Kim... now that IS interesting, that you can grow Wisley Blue! I do notice some people say it's more of a washed out blue than RF. I'd definitely like to eyeball it if it blooms this spring.
More on Rolf Fiedler: apparently it may be (probably is) a seperate species than Ipheion uniflora, which could explain its lack of hardiness... apparently there are about ten species of ipheion. There is some improvement in winter survival by growing RF in a very well drained location (but where I have it planted, IS pretty well drained).
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