Bulbs forum: Camassia- Help me choose!

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Name: Debbie
Manitoba, Canada (Zone 3a)
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DebbieC
Nov 4, 2015 9:07 AM CST
Every year I check out the bulb catalogues and consider ordering Camassia and then for one reason or another I don't. I am drawn to Blue Melody as I'm a sucker for variegated foliage, but am not sure if this would be the best choice for my zone. Other options would be Leichlanii or Cucksii. Any insight as to which variety would be the best choice keeping in mind hardiness and attractiveness. I would only have space for one variety. Thank You!
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
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gemini_sage
Nov 4, 2015 11:13 AM CST
The leichianii and cucksii types tend to be taller, and C. quamash is shorter and less expensive. The height may make it easier to decide. I've only grown the C.quamash types and they perform well and make great perennials.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Debbie
Manitoba, Canada (Zone 3a)
Hostas Cat Lover Annuals Bulbs Container Gardener Critters Allowed
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DebbieC
Nov 5, 2015 8:07 AM CST
Thank You! How long does the foliage hang around on these bulbs and are they much of an increaser?
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Nov 5, 2015 8:42 AM CST
The foliage doesn't hang around long, similar to a tulip in that regard. They do increase steadily in my garden, but not as prolific as daffodils.

I just realized I also grow C. leichtlinii Blue Danube too. I had forgotten about them because a spruce had overwhelmed the spot they were growing and had stopped blooming. They're in a new home and started blooming again this past spring. I would describe its growth and increase as similar to C. quamash.

A few years ago I discovered some growing wild near a stream bank while driving a back road near my home. I'm not sure what species they are, but I did snag a few bulbs for the garden. I guess that means I stole them, but there had been dozing work done that had exposed the bulbs- I couldn't stop myself, LOL.

Here is C. quamash this spring
Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/fa0d98 Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/f941c7

This is the rescued roadside wildling.


Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/29eb67 Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/4adfe4

"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 5, 2015 8:45 AM CST
From information I'm finding about the native range, habitat, and traits of C. cusickii, I believe that is the wild species above.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Debbie
Manitoba, Canada (Zone 3a)
Hostas Cat Lover Annuals Bulbs Container Gardener Critters Allowed
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Houseplants Foliage Fan Butterflies Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers
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DebbieC
Nov 5, 2015 5:26 PM CST
Oh they're both lovely Neal. Thanks for the pics. I definitely will order the Quamash, I have been trying to add more natives to my garden so they will fit the bill nicely.
I don't consider rescuing plants as stealing; I've saved a few myself. How lucky you are to have those wild plants growing near you.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 5, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Oooohh, I just found the pics I took of the Camassias growing wild from 2013! There were so many other wildflowers blooming too, it was gorgeous. The road runs alongside a stream and there was some dozer work and road widening going on.
Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/051139 Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/006d69


Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/816524 Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/2f25e5


Thumb of 2015-11-05/gemini_sage/7d6475

"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Nov 5, 2015 6:11 PM CST
Good conservation effort on your part, Neal. Thumbs up
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Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Nov 6, 2015 2:34 PM CST
Neals Camassia look really super. Having big clumps like that is for sure how it should be planted Smiling

I have grown 'Blue Melody' but it didn't really like it here, never bloomed much and the foliage was a bit floppy. I do have a dry sandy soil, so I tried planting it where it would get a bit more moisture, but it's possible that it still didn't get enough or that it would have liked a bit more sun. I ended up discarding it after a few years as other bulbs do much better here and this one would never naturalise here. However I have been thinking about planting some of the larger ones (in particularly I like the sky blue color of Camassia leichtlinii 'Blue Heaven') and perhaps will do so next year, so thanks for reminding me with this thread and thanks to Neal for posting those lovely images.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 6, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Thanks William! C. quamash is very inexpensive, that clump is 100 bulbs for about $15. Being so dainty, I'm really loving the mass effect. I'd tried them in little clusters here and there in the past, and that made little or no visual impact. The taller species are significantly pricier, but I think the added height would make a clump of 5-10 bulbs enough to create an attractive grouping in the garden. They are very graceful, and the form contrasts nicely with other plants in the garden.

I keep thinking if C. leichtlinii Semiplena is still available when the clearance sales start, I might bite... 'Blue Heaven' is really lovely too, and also tempting.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

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