A few of the Fritillaria michailowski blooms are now fully open for business. I took advantage of the sun today and grabbed a couple of snaps before I head out to Milwaukee tomorrow and miss my chance to capture the plant at its peak.
Although the blooms are not quite fully opened, I could not resist posting a picture of my Fritillaria michailowski in bloom just this morning. I’m really excited about this plant! It’s the one I was most concerned about at planting time, so I figure it’s all smooth sailing from here… at least where the fall bulbs are concerned.
I planted the bulbs back in the late fall and placed the pot in our unheated, south-facing covered porch, aka “The Greenhouse.” Fritillaria michailowski is a cold tolerant flower from Turkey that likes very well draining soil and sun. I opted to grow these in a pot rather than in the ground because I was concerned that they would be lost in our empty backyard given their diminutive size (about 4″). We seem to have inherited soil that is on the loamy side of sandy, which is a pretty excellent texture for bulb growing. If you’ve got heavier soil, I’d suggest going with pots.
I’m considering transferring the bulbs to the backyard garden later this year once it is up and running and the beds have been defined.
Growing in Pots
I used a commercially prepared cactus soil and topped it off with a gravel mulch. The gravel I used is leftover from a freshwater aquarium that I shut down and sold off a few years back.
The pot (6.5″ deep) is made of something like a soft terracotta and is meant to look like stone. I bought it for $5 at a used items store and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage using a masonry bit.
I purchased the bulbs from Garden Import, but I no longer recall how much they cost. There were five bulbs in the package at planting time, but only four came up so you can see this growing experiment wasn’t a total success. Regardless, four out of five gorgeous, healthy plants is good enough in my book.
In just two weeks. This is how it happened.
During the Xmas Holidays we were sitting in the living room watching a television show called, River Monsters, which is essentially a fishing show but so much more. I’m really into fish and have kept freshwater aquariums on and off since childhood. Is there any geek hobby I haven’t tried? The answer is, no. But I digress. The host, Jeremy Wade, is a biologist and angler who travels around the world catching fascinating and fearsome freshwater fish (say that 10 times fast!). Each episode is an attempt to prove or debunk the myth of a supposedly man-eating freshwater fish. It’s a great show.
Fish ON! [Said with British accent].
While watching an episode that was filmed in Thailand, I turned to Davin and said, “Oh yeah, this reminds me that I got an email today asking me if I want to go on a garden writers press tour to Thailand. I kind of ignored it because it’s the Holidays and I’m trying to avoid thinking about work right now — I should take a second look.”
At which point I did take a second look, started to think about the possibilities, got excited about them, and sent in my pitch. Jump ahead a few months to just two weeks ago when we were given the go-ahead to purchase our air tickets to Thailand. And in another two weeks we are off!
Lately I’ve been thinking about my gardening past: how I got into gardening and the first books, magazines, writers, and television hosts that inspired me. Coincidentally, just yesterday I learned about Thalassa Cruso, the” Julia Child of Horticulture.”
I’ve decided that she just might be my new gardening hero.
Through the late 1960′s Ms. Cruso wrote and starred in a PBS television show called “Making Things Grow.” She is described in the New York Times as a “… witty and acerbic Englishwoman…” and an, “Everygardener, a true amateur who drew her advice from personal experience rather than formal horticultural training.”
Sounds like a plantswoman after my own heart. Now, how do I get my hands on a copy of this series?
This is it. This is when it begins. It’s there now, but you have to look for it.
Be a detective. Turn your attention way down to the ground. Can you see it?
Today you might have to crouch down low or look up high to get a glimpse, but within just a few weeks it will all be happening so fast all around you, you will wish for it to slow down just a bit so you can catch your breath.