November planting

A modest order of bulbs should arrive in the next few days, and if it’s not raining, a rarity in recent months, perishable dogtooth violets (Erythronium ‘Pagoda’, below) must be planted this weekend. Planting of dwarf irises (Iris bucharica) and Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) can be delayed, but why wait, in particular since there are only a few handfuls of each bulb to plant?

I’ve delayed far too long in adding more Winter aconites (below), a lacking noted in late winter in recent years, but only ten bulbs were ordered since space for them is very limited. Ten, I think, will suffice, so at the least there will be a much better showing than just two lonely yellow blooms, with others being dug up or otherwise destroyed over the years.

The irises (below) and dogtooth violets are replacements for small, but cherished groupings that diminished, then disappeared in the shade of wide spreading shrubs. Wise planning would have noted the endangered bulbs for digging and replanting long ago, but an inexcusable lack of attention has lost too many small treasures in the garden through the years. I still must decide where the new bulbs will be planted. Hopefully, where they can live a long, undisturbed life.

No daffodils or crocuses have been ordered, again, though there are small areas where they would fit nicely. With hellebores and several shrubs flowering in mid and late winter, there seems less urgency for early spring blooms.

I’m reminded that a small patch of Italian arum (Arum italicum, below) must be moved before it perishes beneath one of the wide spreading paperbushes, the same shrub that overshadowed the grouping of irises. This should be a simple procedure, though a few lower branches of the paperbush will probably need to be pruned for access. Since the arum appears in cold weather, and declines in warmth, this is the proper timing to do the transplant, just as this is the correct timing for planting of bulbs.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit, given my lust for plants, that on a recent excursion I declined an offer of sample plants that are under consideration for introduction. In a rare spell of good sense, I considered the impending forecast of twenty degree nights, and the likely problems planting a variety of evergreens that would be too tender going from a protected environment into mid-November freezes.

Perhaps the generous offer will still be available in March, and then I’ll be delighted and curious to try the few unusual plants. Typically, I’ll plant at least one of anything, though space for trees or large shrubs is hard to come by, but planting should be done with a reasonable chance for success. I will be happy to finally say I’ve followed through in planting the Winter aconites, and there’s no question that these will have no problem with the cold.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. LInus says:

    What variety of iris is pictured? Do you have any reticulated irises? (I would love to try them in my lawn.)

    Yah, my B&B order of bulbs are on the way. I wish they came a little earlier; it’s more pleasant to plant in 50 degree weather than sub 40.

    1. Dave says:

      This is Iris bucharica, which is slightly taller than several reticulated irises in the garden. Leaves of Iris bucharica fade quickly after flowering so there’s no trace of it above ground until the next year. I would prefer to wait for the next 68 degree day to plant, but I’m afraid that could be March

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Are Italian arums desirable? Goodness! I try to get rid of them where they appear. Once established, they are very difficult to kill.

    1. Dave says:

      Here, Italian arums are much less vigorous, and there’s too much competition in this garden for anything to take over.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Are they grown for their red berries, or are they just tolerated because they are not a problem?

      2. Dave says:

        The berries and glossy leaves at a time when most plants are dormant.

      3. tonytomeo says:

        Oh, of course. I suppose the leaves are appealing as well. I do not give it much thought. Those who do not know how much I dislike it find the berries to be appealingly pretty. The foliage does not get much attention because the forests are so lush all year.

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