The Flowering race

Although the snow and ice persist in the shady areas, in a few containers the early spring flowering species are up and ready to go!

The flowering race is going to be a tight one this year. The contenders are: Corydalis solida – listed as the favourite, followed shortly by Dicentra cuccularia and an unexpected outsider – Hepatica nobilis var. japonica.

Ladies and Gentlemen: there is still time to place your bets! A few cold days with possible flurries are in the forecast before the finish line. Choose your favourite and place your wagers.

Dicentra cuccularia

Dicentra cuccularia

Hepatica nobilis var. japonica

Hepatica nobilis var. japonica

The favourite of the race

Corydalis solida - purple

Corydalis solida – purple

Spring Reception

I hope that everyone has welcomed Spring yesterday. In our region, snow is retreating in the sun exposed areas, and the first buds will soon be visible; just wait a few minutes… ;)
Meanwhile, we have had an indoor spring welcoming reception with the young and grown-up seedlings from the germinatrix. The members of the reception committee welcoming Spring were: Delphinium brunonianum, Delphinium tatsienense, Primula alpicola var. violacea, Aquilegia scopulorum, Glaucidium palmatum, and few others.

And a Spring group photo – Say cheese!

Galucidium palmatum seedling

From left to right: Aquilegia scopulorum, Podophyllum hexandrum, Glaucidium palmatum, Epimedium hybrids; in the back Thalictrum, Incarvillea, Salvia…

Featured image: Anemone quinquefolia seedlings (from moist packed seeds). Other early native wildflowers like Claytonia virginica have germinated for quite a while now and Stylophorum, Asarum and Hepatica are just starting, but I will make a summary on their germination later.

Mid-March blues

Binge sowing and trying to beat the mid-March blues, which are slowly turning violet…

Delphinium fissum flowering plant

Delphinium fissum – flowering plant in a sub-alpine meadow, Carpathian Mts.

     A tall, slender Delphinium with fine, laced leaves and rich blue-violet,  +/- pubescent flowers with long spurs. Quite rare…

Noticed the seeds with characteristic scales; when hydrated they look like miniature cones!

Warm lilies

Lilium michiganense, Lilium canadense (plus few others) are the kind of lilies that require warmth for the first stage of germination (about 20˚C), and then a period of cold (0-5˚C for 2-3 months) for the true leaves to emerge. If you get these seeds in late fall or winter, this is the tried recipe to make sure that they’ll start growing leaves in the spring:

Place the seeds in a Ziploc bag with moist vermiculite and keep them during the winter months (Nov/Dec.-Feb/March) at room temperature. Check the moisture once in a while. After the tiny bulblets appear, place the Ziplocs in the fridge for the cold treatment (March-May). Pot them afterwards and place outside.

These bulblets had their photos taken and now are ready to switch places in the fridge with the seeds that are coming out for sowing. Some grow out of the seed and are visible, while some can remain more or less enclosed.

And bulblets of another woodland edge growing, tall Lilium (supposedly canadense); we didn’t catch it in flower last year, but it was an impressive exemplar. It has been placed on the ‘watch list’ for this year so we can properly identify it.

Although North American native species, these Liliums and also few others are almost never grown by commercial nurseries. Start growing your own, besides being ‘hot’ plants, they are pollinated by hummingbirds, sphinx moths and butterflies like the Monarch and Spicebush Swallowtail!

Lilium michiganense

Lilium michiganense

Mendelian inheritance

Sure there was plenty to be done today; still I couldn’t abstain to take some photos of the Epimedium seedlings (big smile here).
These are seedlings of Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ (of parentage Epimedium wushanense ‘Caramel’ x E. flavum) and Epimedium lishihchenii. Such a complicated lineage! More on this later….

Epimedium 'Amber Queen' x E. lishihchenii seedlings

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ x E. lishihchenii seedlings