Issue time01:23:11 pm, by meister Email 27488 views
Categories: Announcements [B]

I ended my winter 2010 evaluation of Lycoris hardiness with the following statement, “This product will probably be applied again next year in the hopes of evaluating under more normal circumstances and with a properly timed second application.” The “product” referred to was FreezePruf™, an organic solution sprayed on winter plants, touted to improve plant cold hardiness by as much as 9°F.

The winter ending 2011 was in no way a normal winter, instead offering up winter lows that matched the record for our area. I also did not follow my own advice, but modified it. I still sprayed the first application of the solution at the appropriate time, but, shortly after, I covered my Lycoris in Reemay, which is only supposed to protect plants by another 2°F or so. My logic was to provide better protection than I had the year before, especially by offering a frost barrier, where I had only sprayed once, and avoid having to spray again in January/February. Little did I expect the temperatures we would see.

Thankfully, with those temperatures also came snow, which acts as a good insulator. This protected the bulbs, themselves, from actually getting as cold as outside air temperatures, but I was not sure what would happen to the foliage separated from the snow only by a thin layer of Reemay.

For the most part, things went really well. Lycoris xalbiflora performance was disappointing, though, as the foliage did not survive well, even though it performed sufficiently well the year before down to 0°F. Lycoris aurea, treated differently, still sprayed once, but using heated plastic tunnels instead of Reemay, just could not handle the cold, and performed the same as the previous year. This time the heat lamps did not fail, but could not compete with -15°F. Under the Reemay, L. ‘Cherry Blossom Pink’ and L. straminea did not perform well, either. Otherwise, Lycoris foliage performance was as good or better than the previous year, that year’s results of which can be reviewed in detail in the article, “A Practical Evaluation of FreezePruf™“.

My hopes are that this winter will behave more “normally", but whether or not it does, due to the extreme nature of the past two winters, I am convinced FreezePruf™ must become a standard part of my winter Lycoris maintenance program. Thanks to all those who have worked to develop such a product, as it has really served me well in this unique situation.

Issue time07:25:54 am, by meister Email 42216 views
Categories: Announcements [B]

Sometime in the summer of 2009, I was made aware of a new product coming to market, offered under the label, “FreezePruf™“, which was touted to be able to protect, by a difference of over 9°F, plants susceptible to winter damage. As an example, by definition, if I was growing a plant that would receive cell damage starting at 32°F, the use of this product would protect the plant from the same damage down to under 23°F. Well! Now, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if this product really works and could protect some of my winter foliage Lycoris from significant winter injury?” I decided to order a gallon of this product, enough to make 4 gallons of solution, and test it on a number of my small Lycoris plots this winter. Little did I know our region of the country would be the recipient of some of the coldest temperatures we have seen in 15 years. But, that’s getting ahead of the story.

The detailed report can be read under the title, “A Practical Evaluation of FreezePruf™“, in the “Growing Guide” section of the Bulbmeister.COM website. The information will include generalized temperature data and environmental conditions, as well as the procedure followed. Additionally, 14 other plots are featured.

Following are images and descriptions of the worst and best performing accessions in the study. Photographs and evaluations were taken on January 18, 2010.

WORST CASE

BEST CASE


Lycoris aurea var. surgens

OUCH! This most tender member of the Lycoris clan proved it needed far more than a spray protectant to survive. Foliage was completely burned back. This plot was in open ground in full sunlight.


Lycoris xhoudyshelii

This open ground plot in full sun received minimal damage, one of the most impressive subjects in the trial, with foliage even more upright than other plots. Please note that the residue of the first treatment is still obviously present on the foliage.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Realizing that this is only a practical, subjective study, I believe FreezePruf™ deserves further evaluation by myself as a nursery grower. Based upon the expected behavior of the Lycoris radiata group and L. xalbiflora, I have noted what appears to be significant protection from very drastic low temperatures, not normally recorded for this area of the country. Additionally, a proper application to the underside of the foliage was not feasible, nor was the scheduled second application possible before the lowest temperatures were observed. An additional application was applied to surviving plots on January 18th after the photographs were taken. This product will probably be applied again next year in the hopes of evaluating under more normal circumstances and with a properly timed second application.

Issue time12:56:04 pm, by meister Email 22082 views
Categories: Announcements [B]

Link: http://shop.bulbmeister.com/#

This season has been great for Lycoris breeding evaluation. Bloom was especially good this year with all my spring foliage species and hybrids, I have selected over 60 plants for further evaluations and use as breeding stock. All selections are from established plots and mainly show species variation with some natural crosses that would have occurred before I acquired the stock. These will be dug, hopefully this week, and either given special plots or potted until a suitable site can be established. Additionally a number of primary and cultivar crosses were performed, making for the second year of organized effort in developing new hybrids. Seed stalks have been harvested and will be allowed to fully mature in the packing room. The seed will then be harvested and immediately planted. So, how does one properly germinate a shiny, black, round Lycoris seed?

  1. Sow immediately after harvest (if the seed coat starts looking dull, germination becomes more difficult).
  2. Prepare a seedling flat or pot with seedling medium or standard potting soil. Alternatively, prepare a seed bed in a location that is shady and protected from above ground and underground rodents; a cold frame with wire mesh barriers 4-6″ under the ground, for example.
  3. Wet the medium thoroughly then press the seeds into the medium, but only enough to stabilize the seed in the location; do not bury in the medium. I do successfully use 1/4″ of granite grit over the top of this setup with excellent success because it helps with moisture control.
  4. If using pots or flats, provide a “terrarium” environment making into a mini greenhouse. This can be done with clear plastic storage bags and even cling wraps. Sometimes a support might be required using bent wire to make mini hoops. Open ground will need regular light moisture.
  5. With the seed flat/pot setup, watering should only be necessary minimally through the fall and winter. If condensation quits developing on the surface of the clear plastic, it is too dry.
  6. If the Lycoris seed you are planting is fully hardy in your area, additional protection should not be required, but I like to have a location that can be kept above freezing. This will be a necessity for fall foliage Lycoris.
  7. Finally, as an emphasis to point 2, KEEP POTTED SEEDS OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT. Leaving them in direct sunlight will create a little stove that cooks the seeds.

All viable Lycoris seed will send down a root within a few weeks after planting. Fall foliage Lycoris may get a single leaf at this time, too. Spring foliage seedlings will only send up a leaf the following spring. Once the seedlings have gone through a foliage “cycle", they can be treated like other Lycoris, but, being young, it is especially helpful to avoid hot/cold extremes and protect from rodent damage. It can take anywhere from 3-5 years, under ideal conditions, to see a seedling flower. Afternoon shade is always a good thing. So, my Lycoris plots have been the bulk of my focus this season, besides trying to spend more time with my family. I expect to be digging and replanting a number of flower bulb species and varieties by the end of October, which could bring on a special sale from Bulbmeister.COM. Current customers and notification requesters will be alerted if the opportunity arises.

Issue time01:29:48 pm, by meister Email 38698 views
Categories: General
Lycoris radiata, L. sprengeri, L. xHaywardii, L. 'Flaming Dragon'
A comparison of Lycoris radiata, sprengeri, haywardii, and ‘Flaming Dragon’
Please take note of the photograph when reading the explanations.

For so many years, now, I’ve been interested in the combined art and science of plant breeding. I have also been encouraged by the fact that one does not have to be a great scientist to participate in what is also art. ;) This short essay is simply given to show the potential results one can come up with when manipulating genes in flower bulbs. No, I did not design a new variety, here. This example is based on work by nature and others.

When taking the pollen from one parent (male donor) and dusting it onto the stigma of the other parent (female, seed donor), if these plants are related and/or compatible can serve to make progeny that have qualities from both parents. This process, naturally, can become very complicated and convoluted, depending on the history of one or both parents.

In today’s illustration, long ago, Lycoris radiata var. pumila (Illustrated as “A") became the female parent accepting the pollen from “B", L. sprengeri, or vice versa. The result of this cross brings about offspring that look like “C", L. xHaywardii. If one were to have their own parental representatives, s/he could get A+B=C. Written properly, the cross would be transcribed like so:

  • Lycoris radiata var. pumila x L. sprengeri

The first representative is always the female, and concerning the progeny L. xHaywardii, we can assume for now that the cross could be switched to get a similar result. Sometimes maternal genes can have some influence on the results, but I don’t know if that is the case here.

Finally, enters “D", L. ‘Flaming Dragon’. This is a hybrid of unknown (by me) origins, but I would like for you to note the strong similarities it shares with L. xHaywardii, except in richness of color. I introduce this beautiful specimen mainly to speculate on possibilities. Not knowing its actual genetic makeup, I could easily surmise it is the result of a similar cross, or possibly a crossing back to one of the parents.

How could it be a similar cross with colors so rich? Well, I am only speculating, but, when I look at Lycoris radiata var. pumila, I see much consistency in morphology. L. sprengeri, on the other hand can have varying richness in pinks and/or blue tepal (petal) tips from one plant to another in a population.

Do you have flower bulbs in the garden? Why not do a little dab here and a little daub there? Wait for the seed to ripen, plant it, and see what you get. If you have two species, all the babies will be the same (assuming bees or other pollinators didn’t help you out). If one or two varieties is involved, LOOK OUT! Every baby will be different. If you don’t have the time to study up on all the do’s and don’t’s related to plant breeding, try to remember the basic rule of thumb to cross kind with kind; Lilies with Lilies, Daylilies with Daylilies, etc. However you choose to go about it, be patient, because seeds take time to ripen and seedlings take anywhere from 1-3 years to reach flowering size, but I’ll GUARANTEE YOU that you will experience the excitement you did as a child when finding something new and previously undiscovered.

Issue time02:58:55 pm, by meister Email 29912 views
Categories: Announcements [A], Announcements [B]

I’ve been quite curious of late about the popularity of blogs. Why have one? How does it replace a forum posting, or is it really any easier than publishing an article to a web page? Well, I got tired of wondering, so I began to wandering. Fact is, I began my wanderings all the way back in June of 2007, I installed this particular blog software, b2evolution, then got bogged down in the concept of configuration and template tampering, got busy with fall product lists, got lazy after that, and just finished publishing the spring flower bulbs list a couple days ago.

So, here I am, planting the seed. I’ve rooted around in this program enough to get a template made that mostly fits the feel of the rest of my site, and I hope to have a short article posted by the end of the week.

As time goes by, I hope this seed will grow, allowing me to share thoughts and ideas from general gardening observations and practices to rambling on over into the specifics of flower bulb studies and culture.

Another feature I do not understand very well, coming along in popularity with blogs, is the “RSS Feed". I hope, if you find these articles, thoughtful meanderings, and favorite links to be of use, you can also find the RSS Feed to be of service, too.

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