Jim Shields' Garden Notes
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Blog Home : XXXXXXXX 2008

- Summer Comes to Indiana

Two weeks of frequent heavy rains and scattered tornados have been hard on the State of Indiana. We here in Westfield have been very fortunate in that less rain fell on us, the tornados went north and west of us or far to the south of us, and the streams did not flood in our area. For us, life has just gone on as usual.

Trillium Follow-up

My Trillium Expedition to Gatlinburg in late April did not answer many questions. In fact it raised many more. I will have to do it again next Spring, but I'll spend 10 days there instead of two and a half days. I have also recruited a couple more people to join, as I anticipate that record keeping, photographing, trying to collect specimens of all the insects we find visiting trillium flowers, and possibly collecting leaf tissue samples for eventual DNA analysis will be way too much for two people to handle.

I can also see that some ex situ cultivation will be needed to clarify the status of some of the plants we see. The question arises, if we see what look like three different species of red flowered trilliums growing in the same general area, are they three species or are they three minor ecotypes of the same variable species? That is, does the microhabitat around each individual plant affect its growth and development so strongly and in such different ways that they look more or less like different species?

By "microhabitat" I mean, is the plant growing in a moist spot, or is it growing up on a rocky hillside a few yards away, or is it growing out in almost full sun along the side of a road?

Crinums Blooming

I am always delighted to see the crinums starting to bloom again. Crinum bulbispermum is more or less hardy here, and it starts blooming very early in the summer.

Bulbs from South Africa

In early April, I received a batch of bulbs from a friend in South Africa. Among them, ten batches of Lachenalia hybrids. Those were planted immediately, and the bulbs eventually sent up leaves -- they were expecting the South African winter, and they got a Midwestern spring. Now, the Midwestern summer is upon them.

Now some of the batches are sending up blooms. I've no idea what to expect nor what their names might be. I'll have to track them and refer to them simply by my accession numbers. I'm quite intrigued at the prospect of hybrids among the Lachenalia. My web site on Lachenalis is at http://www.shieldsgardens.com/amaryllids/Lachenalia.html

Among the bulbs was one large Haemanthus coccineus from a farm in the Bokkeveld Mountains (South Africa). It had bloomed, and the spent scape had set a bunch of seeds. I'm gradually planting those seeds that germinate. The bulb itself has leafed out, but before long I'll have to put it inside one of the greenhouses and force it to go into an early dormancy.

Finally, there were a bunch of plants of Zantedeschia aethiopica, a white, evergreen "calla lilly" native to South Africa. Now that they have leafed out and are starting to bloom, I think one of them may be the rare Z. odorata. Its flower is not pure white but rather creamy white, and it seems to be fragrant -- the only fragrant white Zantedeschia, so far as I know.

Good gardening,


- Busy Days

Even as we continue to scale back the dayllily side of the garden, I seem to have less and less time to think. I'm trying to get the seedlings of Haemanthus lanceifolius repotted. These were started from seed in 2004, and stayed in their community pot until a couple weeks ago. A few were nice sized, almost an inch in diameter, but most are more like ½ inch.

A packet of very fresh seeds of Hippeastrum argentinum arrive a couple mornings ago, from a bulb friend in California. I will grow them on, send him some of the seedling bulbs in two or three years, and keep the rest. First, I have to get them planted. These are almost unobtainable, and I want to get several clones of this species in my collection. Then I will be able to produce the seeds myself -- if I can grow them to bloom size and if I can then get them to bloom for me.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, my small order of Exbury/Smithers hybrid Nerine sarniensis bulbs arrived. They are in the dormant stage, but I still need to get them potted and into summer storage in the next few days. These are the first bulbs form the breeding program of the late Sir Peter Smithers and at Exbury to be released by Nick de Rothschild. I posted a few pictures of the Smithers hybrids over ten years ago, with Sir Peter's permission. See them at: http://www.shieldsgardens.com/amaryllids/Smithersnerines.html

Blooms on the Deck

Sprekelia howardii, a dwarf species from Mexico, bloomed again this year. Only one plant ever blooms, and I have several. They were raised from seed, and all are exactly the saem age, and all have been treated exactly the same way. The flower is about 3 inches across held on a scape about 5 or 6 inches tall. The leaves, very narrow, appear after the flower has faded.

Sprekelia howardii (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Sprekelia howardii, the dwarf Sprekelia.

The past week or so, several things have bloomed here. All my Zantedeschia pentlandii seem to be in bloom at once. The flowers are up to 4.4 inches across and stand up to 29 inches tall.

Zantedeschia pentlandii (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Zantedeschia pentlandii (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Zantedeschia pentlandii inflorescence over 4 inches across.

Then Hymenocallis guerreroensis bloomed, followed by Hymenocallis glauca. The cup on guerreroensis is narrow, while the cup on glauca is up to about 1¾ inches across, and the tepals are nearly ½ inch wide. It is reminiscent of the flowers on H. imperialis. The broad leaves of glauca remind me strongly of the leaves of Hymenocallis eucharidifolia, and H. eucharidifolia itself will be blooming in a week or so as well. I wonder if imperialis is closely related to either eucharidifolia or glauca?

Hymenocallis guerreroensis (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Haemanthus montanus bloomed over the past 6 weeks, and a few seeds seem to have formed on a couple of the stalks.

Haemanthus montanus (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Haemanthus humilis humilis should bloom soon too, but only one of the bulbs looks like it might bloom this year. That one was quite nice when it bloomed last year.

The first blooms I have had on my hybrid Crinum [bulbispermum x macowanii] (#1471.A)

Crinum [bulbispermum x macowanii] (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.


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