Summer bulbs 2012

Submitted by Cockcroft on

Eremurus stenophyllus has produced several seedlings in the garden, with two blooming for the first time this year.


Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 06/23/2012 - 21:42

From seed, yet!  I'm so envious!  How long do they take to bloom from seed?  Given the wet winters in your area, do they require really good drainage?

Submitted by Cockcroft on Sun, 06/24/2012 - 11:24

Things like our wet climate enough to seed themselves around.  :) 

The area where these are growing is bordered by the driveway and the street and gets only a little summer water.  The drainage is relatively good, compared to many places in my clay soil garden.  They get baked during the short summer here.  I'm not sure how old they are -- I noticed that the eremurus were seeding around maybe 4 years ago?  The area is starting to get shaded out, so I must do some shrub pruning/clearing to keep them happy.

Submitted by Cockcroft on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 17:31

The cardiocrinum giganteum bulbs are in their glory today.  I've been growing these since I was given seeds in 1996.  Some years I have very few flowers stalks, but this year I counted 12, despite my thinning out the bulbs a bit.

Submitted by RickR on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 08:58

Very ipressive!  
I guess they often are, but yours are still exceptional, in my opinion. :o
And the grouping really emphasizes the enormity.

I have Cardiocrinum cathayanum seedlings, from seed from a friend.   (Don't ask me why, because they won't be hardy here.)  Said to have poor viability percentage, I estimate about 20% sprouted.

Submitted by Cockcroft on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 18:43

This time I'm posting a roscoea that's coming into flower.  Though it didn't have a name when I got it, I think it's likely R. purpurea 'Purple Streaker'.  It's a husky plant and blooms later than many of my roscoeas.

Submitted by Mark McD on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 19:51

Wow Claire, showing some real beauties there, the Cardiocrinum grouping is fantastic.  How tall are your plants? Question for all forumists, do lily beetles attack Cardiocrinum?

With the bountiful mid-to-late spring rains, and then with warm-to-hot temps and an unusually mild winter, some of the "giant plants" here are more giant than normal; Kirengeshoma palmata is over 6', and Thalictrum rochebrunianum must be over 8' tall, must get out to measure the plants.

Congratulations on the Eremurus stenophyllus seedlings, I'm pining for a replacement to a large mature clump I lost about 6 years ago.  I did find one self-sown seedling 2 years later that found its way amidst a huge multi-shoot of a hardy hibiscus moscheutos form, certain death over time due to being being shaded out, so I extracted it from its doomed position, to kill it even faster in what I thought would be a better position :rolleyes:

Your purple and white streak Roscoea is really striking, the flower color and form perhaps worth putting up with the exuberant foliage.  I've made it known here on this forum, that I have a love/hate relationship with this genus; most have wonderful flowers and look great in flower, but look fairly miserable the rest of the year with flopping languishing foliage season long afterwards.  Here's my Roscoea cautleyoides which has never failed to put on a good show in late spring for the last decade, but also never fails to annoy me with coarse flopping "corn stalks" that grow tatty and unsightly the rest of summer and fall.

Also recently in bloom was Ornithogalum sphaerocarpum, a tall 30" spire of understated chartreuse flowers, I like it.  I have yet to see a seedling, and thus far, it remains a single bulb after a number of years.

Submitted by Cockcroft on Tue, 07/03/2012 - 17:38

Hi, Mark,

The cardiocrinums range from 6 to 8 feet tall usually.  I save the old bloom stalks for the paper wasps.  You can hear them scritching off the outside of the stalk when you walk by.

As for the eremurus, since I live in the soggy Northwest, I planted the original ones between the street and the driveway to get as much heat off the pavement as possible.  The soil is probably the only place in the garden that is not amended as I figured they'd like it lean and mean.  My biggest concern is not having them rot in winter and so far things are working.

Your Roscoea cautleyoides is lovely.  The clump in my garden is just starting to build up.  I killed this plant a couple of times before getting it in the right place.  It grows with parsley that often goes to seed and thus holds up the stalks.  :-)

Submitted by Tim Ingram on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:51

I suppose it's a bit late to be a summer bulb but we are still very warm here. Sternbergia sicula has rarely flowered well in the garden before but for some reason this year is an exception. Very showy.

Submitted by Tony Willis on Thu, 09/20/2012 - 09:51

Biarum pyrami from Turkey in flower today

Submitted by Mark McD on Sat, 09/22/2012 - 18:55

Tim, your Sternbergia seems early, but a gorgeous patch. 

Tony, sometimes plants are just plain wonderful and weird, and Biarum certainly qualifies.  Your plant just "squeaked in" to be a summer bloomer, as this response 2 days later marks the first day of autumn.  I tried growing some Biarum species from Mike Salmon seed a number of times but never succeeded; I wonder if it has more to do with keeping plants dry versus an issue with winter hardiness.  While these are quantifiably weird plants, I do like them and some day hope to grow a few (outdoors) successfully.

Submitted by Tony Willis on Sun, 09/23/2012 - 13:08


I keep mine totally dry in summer and start to water hen I see growth in the early autumn. Cold is not a problem as I have found most very hardy. This particular one is covered in snow all winter.

Some of the lowland ones like davisii are probably tender.