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Author Topic: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California  (Read 11811 times)

ArnoldT

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #225 on: April 21, 2017, 03:53:35 AM »
Robert:

I'm sure Arturo will step in, but in the mean time.

San Carlos de Bariloche is the area close to the border with Chile in Western Argentina.  Looks very much like Swiss mountains.  Well known as a popular ski region.  Not far from the fruit growing region in Rio negro.

A very beautiful place.
Arnold Trachtenberg
Leonia, New Jersey

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #226 on: April 21, 2017, 04:14:58 AM »
Arnold,

Thank you for the information. I googled San Carlos de Bariloche and Rio Negro. Very fascinating! Yes, the photographs do look something like the European Alps, at least what little I have seen of them in Switzerland and Austria. I look forward to what Arturo has to say!
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Alan_b

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #227 on: April 21, 2017, 07:05:22 AM »
There might be challenges growing Calochortus in the UK. In general, the bulbs need a dry rest in the summer while they are dormant. Moisture around the bulb at this time normally causes the bulb to decay.

Thanks to Robert and Arturo for their thoughts on growing Calochortus.  A dry rest over the summer is not difficult where I am in the south east of England; I'm told we get less rainfall than in Mexico.        However hot and dry could be difficult.  Tulip bulbs tend to need a hot dry summer.  Some tulip cultivars flower reliably year-on-year if left in the ground here but the majority decay away producing smaller and smaller leaves for a few years until they vanish completely.  How do tulips do in California? 
Cambridgeshire, UK (not that far from Wandlebury Ring, home of the Wandlebury yellows)

Steve Garvie

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #228 on: April 21, 2017, 09:48:53 AM »
Alan, I grow a range of Calochortus including kennedyi which is essentially a desert species (I have only flowered it twice). The easier species are amabilis, albus, amoenus and monophyllus. I transferred these from my greenhouse to a bulb frame last autumn to free growing space. Unfortunately this bulb frame has been exposed to run-off from the greenhouse roof. The wet plunge over winter was fine for many Frits but caused rot in the Calochortus -I still have albus and amabilis but have lost amoenus and monophyllus.

I find Calochortus grow best here planted in a deep pot in very well-drained compost (>50% grit). Water control is paramount. They need a long dry warm summer (easy in a greenhouse -even in Scotland). I delay first watering until the end of October, the compost is kept barely damp throughout winter. Top growth is later to rise than for Frits, etc with new growth appearing in early April. I increase watering as growth advances until flower buds plump up. At this point new vegetative growth has ceased and so I provide some shade and try to keep the plants cool whilst reducing watering drastically. If seed capsules are ripening I keep the plunge just damp but add no water to the pots, otherwise the pots are dried-off. Re-potting is in mid-October.
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Steve
West Fife, Scotland.

hamparstum

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #229 on: April 21, 2017, 11:43:28 AM »
Hi Robert amd Steve, I have the suspicion that the genus Calochortus should do well here. Of course there's no local experience. I live on the east side of town overlooking the Nahuel Huapi lake, on the southern edge. I've been living on my farm (2.5 hect=6.2acres) for almost 30 yrs now. Growing all sorts of things from trees all the way  to (recently) rock garden plants. I turned over the farming part to my godson who thus keeps a small organic fresh vegetable production for local sale. I maintain my activity in gardening . My farm, is placed on a north facing ( warm) slope about 900 mts. elevation(above sea level). We have three greenhouses, the smallest is 20x32ft and can be heated in winter to just above freezing, which we share growing our seedlings and frost tender plants. The larger ones are used for the vegetables and frost tender fruit trees. The east side is much drier than right at the Chilean border. There is an amazing precipitation drop west to east. The west being very, very wet, (4000mm plus) while the eastmost end only reaches 700 mm on an 100 km gradient. I'm placed where annual precipitation reaches to 1500mm aprox. However natural summer drought starts mid December and stays drier as summer continues until the end of March, where the first autumn rains start, at first only dampening the surface. The initial rains are intermittent. Then sometime late April to May starts the rainy season ( we can have solid 20 days of rain). Having said the above, with warming up plus general climatic pattern change, these climatic patterns are no longer so strict. I guess everyone is experienceing it everywhere. In terms of hardiness is where I see greater changes. We used to get cold winters with ground frozen for at least 4/5 days. This is no longer happening. Winter lows are normally in the -5C/-8C, ( in 2007 we had two weeks of -20C, but never again). This past winter we didn't even have a single day of frozen ground. The other great difference with the N. Hemisphere is that we hardly have standing snow except that occurring during a snow storm. So we normally can't count on the cold mitigating effect of snow cover. My trials of wintersowing methods outdoors have had poor results in general terms. Controlled conditions of stratification in my fridge are much more reliable.
     With the above explanation plus what I already read about what you've achieved I hope to get a few seeds of various species of Calochortus and try to germinate them. If I succeed in getting them to sprout, then initially I'll grow them in pots before placing them permanently outside. I'm imagining them similar to hardy Mediterranean cyclamens. If anyone suggests a better procedure please let me know.
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #230 on: April 21, 2017, 02:23:04 PM »
Arturo,

It seems that you have an extremely sound plan for cultivating Calochortus. Most likely you will have a high degree of success. Keep us posted on your progress.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #231 on: April 21, 2017, 02:50:01 PM »
Thanks to Robert and Arturo for their thoughts on growing Calochortus.  A dry rest over the summer is not difficult where I am in the south east of England; I'm told we get less rainfall than in Mexico.        However hot and dry could be difficult.  Tulip bulbs tend to need a hot dry summer.  Some tulip cultivars flower reliably year-on-year if left in the ground here but the majority decay away producing smaller and smaller leaves for a few years until they vanish completely.  How do tulips do in California? 

Alan,

Yes, I do grow tulips. I do not have many, and the species definitely perform much better in our garden. For the most part, the few hybrids that I still have in the garden, do as you say; they slowly fade away with smaller and smaller leaves each year and then vanish completely.

Hot and completely dry conditions are not a prerequisite for all Calochortus species. The Calochortus minimus / nudus complex can often be found growing and blooming in semi-moist meadows. Especially at the higher end of their altitude range, these meadows do not always dry completely by the end of summer. Having said that, they have not been the easiest species for me to maintain in our garden. The bulbs generally are found in the first few cm of soil. The ground freezes and stays frozen for many months during the wintertime where the remain semi-"dry" over the winter. I have had success getting plants to blooming age, however I have only had one plant return to bloom again. The C. minimus / nudus group are tiny plants, only a few cm tall. The flowers can be extremely variable, especially where I suspect that the two "species" overlap in their range.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 03:18:10 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #232 on: April 21, 2017, 03:15:04 PM »
A few photographs of Calochortus minimus / nudus taken in June of 2014 in the Lyon's Creek basin. The plants in this area are extremely variable and may be hybrids. The question as to whether they are hybrids is something I would like to pursue. Plants growing in the upper reaches of the basin can be found in small meadows that do not dry completely by autumn. At the lower end of the basin their habitat can become very dry by autumn.







Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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hamparstum

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #233 on: April 21, 2017, 04:01:09 PM »
Thanks Robert, If I'm lucky I'll try get some seeds to begin with! stage one of the path is getting seeds as any botanicaly inclined rock gardeners knows. We tend to get hooked on plants that grow in most bizarre origins, usually as far away as one's soul can imagine. I'm no exception, rather the rule...trying to grow, Primula, Campanula, Penstemon... all northern hemisphere temperate genera...
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #234 on: April 21, 2017, 05:09:24 PM »
Arturo,

I have to admit that for me it has been very difficult for me to obtain seed of species that I would like to grow. By concentrating on our local California flora I can be proactive and accomplish a great deal.  :) I certainly am not in the "seed business", however I do gather tiny amounts of seed for my own projects. I will keep you in mind and PM you late summer - autumn if I come across species that I think you might be interested in. Good luck with everything! It will be a pleasure to learn about your gardening experiences on the forum.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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hamparstum

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #235 on: April 21, 2017, 05:34:38 PM »
Thanks again! You might wonder why I don't do the same. There is a local flora, high mountain. Some genera very interesting. Very scarce sources  of seed.It has yet the reach the specialized nursery. Only recently with emphasis put on growing native flora some students that are studying at the local horticulture program at the university are trying out multiplication schemes. Us gardeners will have to wait. Also the overall diversity is much less. In the southern hemisphere the temperate region is very small. This part, western Tasmania and southern south Island NZ.On the contrary the mediterranean climate is much wider and it includes a large portion of California and west coast. The northern hemisphere offers us gardeners so much diversity!. After all thinking globally, ex situ conservation can be achieved anywhere!
Arturo Tarak

Robert

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #236 on: April 21, 2017, 11:22:24 PM »
Arturo,

I am very fortunate to live in California. Our flora is quite diverse. From what I have heard, other parts of our planet seem to lack the diversity of native flora that is found in places like South Africa, China, etc. From my perspective the potential of California's flora has been only partly utilized. I am more than happy to spread a few things around.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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hamparstum

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #237 on: April 22, 2017, 12:23:37 AM »
Thank you, I'll keep you posted with my endeavors!
Arturo Tarak

Alan_b

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #238 on: April 22, 2017, 08:09:11 AM »
I have heard it suggested that the UK, being an island, is particularly lacking in a diversity of native flora.  Perhaps we subconsciously recognise this and compensate by having a larger proportion of the population interested in gardening than elsewhere?  That we we achieve our own diversity where it doesn't exist in nature.
Cambridgeshire, UK (not that far from Wandlebury Ring, home of the Wandlebury yellows)

ian mcdonald

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Re: 2017 - Robert's botanical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #239 on: April 22, 2017, 10:40:22 AM »
Alan, it has been suggested that much of our wildlife has colonised the UK since the last ice age. I think the ice sheet reached as far as london. Even though not covered by ice the area south of the ice sheet would probably have been something like a Tundra. Wildlife is slowly re-colonising from the south and "southern" species are being recorded in "new" areas but I expect you already know this. As an island we don,t have the land mass of europe for such a great diversity but we do have a varied geology, which in turn creates a diversity of habitats. The problem with "official" figures regarding our wildlife is the lack of data. If people don,t record the wildlife of an area, that area looks poor. In an area where an active bird watcher lives and records, that area looks better for birds on a map. The same applies to any branch of natural history. On a site near me over 5,000 species of invertebrates have been recorded. The reason for this is that there have been very active entomologists visiting the site in the past. As you say, gardeners can and do provide a habitat for wildlife. It is surprising how many habitats can be provided for wildlife in our gardens. As wild habitats are increasingly destroyed with government blessing for "progress" with yet more business parks and housing estates, it is time we said "enough destruction, where is the conservation?"
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 10:42:54 AM by ian mcdonald »

 

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