Saturday, August 08, 2009

Planting a Crown Imperial Flower Bulb

Native to Iran, Afghanistan and the foothills of the Himalayas, the Crown Imperial is not your garden variety flower. Before being gifted three bulbs, I had never even heard of them. They were among a huge lot of bulbs a work colleague gave us and I had to check it out to learn how and where to plant them — but also what they look like.

Showy, that is is. The flower grows 3 to 4 feet tall on a stalk that ends in a tuft of green fronds somewhat like palm trees with bright, vivid flowers hanging below. I have no idea what color ours will be but the orange ones certainly are pretty. They will look great with the purple hyacinths we have.

The Crown Victoria bulbs stink to high heaven. Until I figured out where the stench was coming from, I swore one of the neighborhood dogs surprised a skunk. The bulbs are said to repel rodents.

The bulbs resemble cinnamon rolls, with an indent on the top that can fill with water and rot the bulb so it's advised to plant them on the side so water won't collect there. The plant's shoot is still able to find the surface, which given that plants grow through streets and sidewalks, is no great shocker. But, good to know, because I would have planted it in the ground wrong. Well, actually Mr. Field Notes would have. He's outside gardening on my behalf. Darn it too — if it were my choice I'd be out there with him! But until I recover completely from surgery, the weather cools off, and Baby FN is big enough to ride in a sling, I am kickin' it indoors with the AC and the whining pooches, who really resent being stuck inside while one of their people is outside 'having fun.'

I hope the Crown Imperial flowers will survive and come up in the spring. They appear in April or May and bloom for about 3 weeks, allegedly. Fingers crossed!

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