Six on Saturday #65 (April 10, 2021)

We are currently in the middle of the annual Pollen Apocalypse week as the local pines, oaks, and hickories make the case that they, not humans, are the dominant species in the piedmont. The week’s activities have included eating cetirizine like candy, finally being glad that we can wear masks everywhere, and hoping that the person behind me in line just has allergies and not a particularly virulent case of Covid-19. Up next, the traditional reading of poems by WWI soldiers about mustard gas attacks.

It’s Saturday, so here are six things in the garden.

1. Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty)

Picture of Claytonia flowers

This was totally unexpected. Claytonia virginica is a native woodland wildflower which blooms early in the spring before the deciduous trees leaf out and then quickly goes dormant. This one appeared spontaneously in the middle of one of my full-sun flowerbeds. I have never noticed the species growing in our woods, so I’m really not sure where the seed came from.

2. Tulipa turkestanica?

picture of a miniature tulip

Another surprise. Last autumn, I planted some more bulbs of Tulipa sylvestris (photo 1) and Tulipa whittallii (photo 3) to expand existing plantings. This must have been mixed in. The flowers are miniscule, barely 3 cm across. After looking at all the other tulips sold by the bulb vendor and searching the web, my best guess is that it is Tulipa turkestanica.

3. Tulipa ‘Little Beauty’


Another miniature tulip living up to its name. The flowers of this little plant are almost flush with the foliage. Various references disagree about whether this is a selected clone of Tulipa humilis or a hybrid with T. humilis ancestry. I planted these last year, so although it is reputed to be a good choice for warm climates, it remains to be seen whether it will perennialize as well as T. clusiana var. chrysantha (photos 5 and 6), T. whittallii, and T. sylvestris.

4. Narcissus ‘Starlight Sensation’


Last autumn, I interspersed some of these bulbs among the existing drift of Narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ (photo 4) that runs along the lane at the edge of our property. I was hoping for a mix of yellow and white flowers, but I miscalculated the blooming season of the two clones. Instead, I have early yellow and later white. I suppose extending the flowering season is a different kind of success.

5. Iris bucharica


Another recent planting. Iris bucharica is from Afghanistan and needs a dry dormancy in late summer, so I have planted the bulbs in the hottest and driest spots in the garden. It remains to be seen if it will survive our summer thunderstorms and humidity. The foliage is very odd–more like a Tradescantia or daylily than the typical sword-like leaves of the genus.

6. Narcissus ‘Golden Bells

a photo of Narcissus 'Golden Bells'

These guys get better every year.

The Propagator is the host of Six on Saturday.  Head over there to see his Six for this week and find links to the blogs of other participants.

7 thoughts on “Six on Saturday #65 (April 10, 2021)

  1. Perhaps because of the mild climate, pollen dispersion happens at a more tolerable degree throughout the year here. Some phases are worse than others, especially for those who are allergic to specific pollen, but there are not so many of the ‘bad’ pollinators dispersing pollen at the same time. Then, because of the minimal humidity, pollen is not such a bother for those with allergies like it is in more humid climates. When the redwoods and firs start to pollinate, huge pale yellow clouds of pollen can be seen drifting through the forest against the dark green backdrop. Yet, it is not as bad for those with allergies as it looks like it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel yer pollen pain. As a resident of Cedar City (literally, that’s the town’s official nickname) in mid-TN, and living in the middle of an oak/hickory/elm forest, I stay on cetirizine 24/7 throughout early spring. I can always tell when I’m late for a dose — the dripping and coughing are dead giveaways!

    As for small tulips, I’m getting fond of T. clusiana. Small flowers and long stems make it look un-tulip-like to me, but I’ve got a few bulbs in several different containers and they all come back enthusiastically. As for other possibly perennializing tulips, I was startled this year to see a whiskey barrel’s worth of tulip “Daydream” bloom every bit as much this year as it did last year — pretty impressive for a non-species type. It’s a Darwin and evidently known for perennializing, but dang.

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    1. I have heard good things about the Darwin hybrids. Might have to give some a try this autumn. I am trying out a large red tulip that supposedly naturalizes around old homesteads in Texas. They’re sold by the Southern Bulb Company and cost an arm and a leg. The two bulbs I bought last sumner didn’t flower this year, so it remains to be seen if they are as reliable as advertised.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve got one large red tulip — one — that has grown here since before I moved into the property 12 years ago. It looks like a Darwin, but I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t multiply, but it comes back faithfully in the same spot every year. It’s kind of a miracle, given how many voles I’ve got. I grow all the other tulips in containers, and while some will come back in low numbers, this Daydream is the first non-species that’s been so enthusiastic about it.

        Liked by 1 person

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