Sunday, September 30, 2007

Some of the bulbs of autumn

Some of the colchicums and sternbergias are in full bloom now. Their colors don't do much for one another, but this old planting has given carefree color and interest for years. The ones shown in the image are the colchicum often sold under the name 'Giant' or 'The Giant' and the familiar Sternbergia lutea. Both of these grow well here, last for years, and have never failed to bloom yearly.

The name of the colchicum is in doubt. Bowles places 'The Giant' among the hybrids which resemble C. speciosum and do not show prominent tessellation. But the plate prepared for Gartenschönheit shows a pale but obviously tessellated flower. Whatever it is, it is a big one: in fact, it's has the largest flowers of all the colchicum I know.

The sternbergias produce foliage as the flowers fade; this foliage does a good Liriope imitation during the winter. Years ago I saw a bed of Sternbergia lutea about thirty feet long and perhaps six feet deep. It was in full bloom when I saw it and was a wonderful demonstration of what this plant can do.

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