Monday, February 02, 2009

Antsy Gardener

This is the time of year when I get "bulb antsy"; though snow is still weighing heavily on the garden, I get increasingly anxious to see the first bulb shoots breaking through the cold ground, as the sun's increasing warmth finally starts creating some bare spots here and there. I especially get anxious to see the new bulbs I just planted last fall; since some of these are new species, or even new genera in our garden, there is always some question as to whether they even will appear in the spring.
One of the bulbs I'll be looking for is Leucojum vernum, the spring snowflake. Now, leucojums I have in plenty already, but they are bulbs of the summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum, shown above last year. Aestivum has been rather too successful here, aggressively spreading in the beds where it's planted, and seeding about with abandon. It has a lot of foliage for its flower size; foliage which flops all over everything, smothering out any other plant unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity.
Leocujum vernum, which I just planted last fall, is a much smaller (six inches tall), more refined plant, with a reputation for being somewhat difficult to grow (in contradistinction to Leocojum aestivum, which is large, rather coarse in foliage, and would probably survive a napalm attack).
The subject of the cultural requirements for success with Leucojum vernum is a little mysterious to me. Some claim that it must be planted in moist spots which never dry out, yet I read in one article that it is more tolerant of dry conditions than is aestivum, and that aestivum is the species which won't tolerate being dry. Well, in our garden aestivum tolerates full-blown drought without missing a beat, so I have no idea where to plant vernum; I've hedged my bet by planting two bulbs in a wet spot, and two in a well-drained spot.
It is always a little worrisome when one plants a bulb that hardly anybody else seems to grow; it may well be that other gardeners just have a blind spot about a very garden-worthy bulb, but there are other, more likely reasons why you never see the spring snowflake growing in other gardens... spring will bring an answer.

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I love your garden.
It is a plant which is also indigenous not far from where I am living. Alas it wont grow in my garden - to dry in winter and spring.

As far as I see it - it likes moisture in winter and spring - here it grows in floodplane forests, which get drier during summer.

Leucojum vernum does not build big stocks here - rather small clumps.

I wish you luck with your new Leucojum vernum.

greetings from Austria
Why don't you force something inside, then real quick go outside and plant it. Of course, the ground is likely frozen, so plant it in some snow. If you need more help, let me know! :)
What a riotous suggestion by BV! Ha... or is it worth a try? ;-)
Garden Statues... thanks; I very much appreciate hearing that.

No... now, you see that's odd... vernum won't grow in your garden? I'd think you have a pretty benign climate, and you certainly don't live in a desert, as I recall. I guess I won't plan on seeing any big patches of it here in Iowa.

Benjamin... I've already thought of that! :o)

Shady... don't encourage him; with his thesis done, he's feeling pretty frisky.

A blog worth reading on forward until the end! :) I really admire the wording in this blog, quite precise to the details but I just might change one or two things, never-the-less, bravo on well choiced words mate.. p.s.>> Thanks for sharing, I actually picked up some knowledge on this one :)
-Have an amazing day!
GP... thanks for your comment; I do appreciate it. If you ever see something on here you don't agree with or think is wrong, don't hesitate to say something; I am a complete amateur in horticulture (how could it be otherwise in the middle of the upper midwest of the U.S.) and this blog is just my idle scribblings to amuse myself, so I have close to zero ego about it.
Here I am again! The guy with the "TinkerBells" that turned out to really be "Lilly of the Valley".

I would love to contact Don and the poster of the other post by IBOY about a trade for some of my Tinker Bells:

Thanks in advance, Kiee
Kiee... sorry, I'm JUST getting caught up on post replies;is it the summer snowflake you want? I know they do well in the south and are much grown there. If so, I'd be happy to dig you up a bunch next fall and send you some... no need to send a trade.
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