This weekend in California native plants

Aside from the flats of Claytonia perfoliata planted by my son, no actual native plants were started this weekend. Instead, I had a good visit with my buddy Warren (the co-author who never posts). He has a cool opportunity ahead of him, and it's good to see him off to a good start.

One interesting observation is that the potted Cercis occidentalis has tender new growth, but hasn't even lost all its old leaves yet. The C. occidentalis in the ground has yet to lose any leaves and has no new growth yet. The potted Cercis is about one year new to the garden, whereas the one in ground has two years.

It often seems like the first year or two in the garden the plants need to settle in to the local rhythms. I often find things blooming or growing out of their traditional season. By the second year the plants are established and they seem to be more normal in their growth schedule.

Here's a non-native, Crocus sativus, the Saffron Crocus. These shoots are about 1 - 2 inches tall. Yes, they are the same ones that you can harvest for saffron spice, provided they bloom. I've had the bulbs for several years and while they don't die they don't bloom either. Maybe it needs some chill. Not a native, but on my list because they are somewhat off the beaten plant list and a food as well. It's early for this to be growing too compared to previous years, However, this is a new location that I hope it will like better.

Writing about this plant has stimulated me to read a bit more about it. Apparently an autumn bloom is right on target for it rather than the spring growth that I've seen previously. So maybe I'll get a bloom this year. These shoots are bundled together because I didn't separate the bulbs, or corms, when I transplanted. It's a Mediterranean plant, so well suited for southern California. I think that the plants came with a recommendation from Robert Smaus, the respected former LA Times garden writer which must have been reason for me to purchase it originally.
Wikipedia has a wealth of information on saffron.

Planting depth and corm spacing—along with climate—are both critical factors impacting plant yields. Thus, mother corms planted more deeply yield higher-quality saffron, although they produce fewer flower buds and daughter corms. With such knowledge, Italian growers have found that planting corms 15 centimetres (5.9 in) deep and in rows spaced 2–3 cm apart optimizes threads yields, whereas planting depths of 8–10 cm optimizes flower and corm production....Harvesting of flowers is by necessity a speedy affair: after their flowering at dawn, flowers quickly wilt as the day passes.

No comments:

Post a Comment