Monday, June 14, 2010

Brodiaea californica

The various Brodiaea are not common in our gardens, although one cultivar, 'Queen Fabiola', is widely marketed and very inexpensive (and very attractive!). When I first started to grow the members of this genus long ago, I had doubts about their hardiness. And after a year or two the plants did disappear in the garden. But cold hardiness pure and simple is probably not the main problem; wet summers are a big problem. I now grow many of the bulbs native to the west coast of North America under summer cover – the cold frame lights are placed over the beds from late May until sometime in September. This keeps the soil relatively dry; under these conditions many bulbs difficult in the open garden will thrive. In the image above, what looks like a reflection is a reflection: the lights are already in place.

If you have already grown some of the other species of Brodiaea, be sure to give this one a try. It’s taller and has much larger flowers than most species (in fact, I don’t know of one larger).

The genus Brodiaea has been placed in the Liliaceae, the Amaryllidaceae, the Alliaceae, the Themidaceae and, according to the PBS wiki, the Asparagaceae at various times.

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