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.
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?
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.