by Dr. Janis Ruksans & Liga Popova

Jānis - Saturday, 06 April 2013 07:26

It was heavy snowing up to midnight but then sky cleared and frost hardened. In morning outside was minus 7 but minimum termomether showed that temperature in greenhouses dropped only to minus 2 C. Now is full sun and snow are quickly melting. From my houses dark roof water runs down as waterfull spring. Here I'm showing two Gymnospermium - pictured this morning: G. altaicum and G. albertii. Both are good growers and when my garden was situated on coarse sand based soil, they perfectly grew in garden and even multiplied by selfsowing. Now my garden is based on heavy clay, so I'm growing them now in greenhouse.

Scilla libanotica is very pretty. I got it from Bob and Ranweig Wallis run nursery named "Buried Treasures" - just as my book, but books name was chosen by publishers and it has nothing common but some bulbs with this nursery.

As last picture in this entry is Fritillartia assyriaca. It is blooming quite long time and this season was the first frit blooming with me. Original plant was collected by me in Iran (WHIR-190).


Jānis - Friday, 05 April 2013 13:22

Yesterday we had sun and nicely opened crocuses, so it was possible to make some pollination. On pictures you can see pollinations of Crocus caricus (form got from Rik (Hendrik) in middle is seedlings of Crocus heuffelianus cv. 'Carpathian Wonder' and on third picture - pollination of Crocus minutus.


Jānis - Friday, 05 April 2013 07:45

And now tthree pictures of Caucasian Iris reticulata. The first is very light blue found for me by my friend Zhirair, another purest white for from Armenia (again found for me by Zhirair) and on third picture you can compare the really white from Armenia (on left) with new one cultivar White Caucasus, which really is sligjhtly bluish shaded (on right side)

Jānis - Friday, 05 April 2013 07:39

Today our weather guru Tom Bricis forecasted horrible frost (down to minus 18 C - hope not on my place) on night to Sunday, but following weekend spring must finally come here and even + 15 C and great floods offered. My house and nursery is on hiltop, so regardless of 30-40 cm of snow covering all my fields, floods are not dangerous for me.

So now I'm picturing in greenhouse reticulata irises. On first two pictures are recently described Iris zagrica. On the first it certainly is zagrica from Iran, on second - most likely zagrica, but this one is gathered in Iraq by Henrik Zetterlund.

Then follows two gatherings from Iran (WHIR-108 and WHIR-134) which I would like to name Iris hyrcana, although the first one has quite small flowers and as last two are two another Iranians - WHIR-156 and WHIR-136 - one purple colored, looks closer to typical Iris reticulata, another bluish toned.

Jānis - Friday, 05 April 2013 05:33

Rik, I'm not spraying with Aktara but using watercan I'm watering soil in pots. Insekticide enters bulb and kills warm inside. So I'm using it only on Galanthus, Acis, Leucojum and Narcissus grown in pots in greenhouse. Bees are sleeping now. On outside beds I am making shallow row by line of snowdrops, then by watercan fill in solution of Aktara and after that by rake I am closing row. So all possible damage to nature is eliminated. Outside I use it twice - in spring when snowdrops emerge and again in summer when snowdrop leaves dies. I do not know other way to kill this pest.

hendrik - Thursday, 04 April 2013 18:23

Aktara is a neonicotinoid insecticide; it's very harmful to bees and one of the reasons with the troubles with bees; never use it during the flowering period, only after flowering.

Best wishes


Janis Ruksans - Wednesday, 03 April 2013 13:01

Cyclamen kusnetzovii is hardiest cyclamen and single one which can be grown with limited success here outside. In wild it is distributed in two small localities in Crimea, Ukraina. It excellently grow with me and abbundantly blooms. My stock is rised from few seeds collected on one of its native localities and multiplied by seeds got in my nursery from handpollinated plants at their first blooming.

Janis Ruksans - Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:27

I have great problems with my Amarillidacea plants - they suffer from bulb fly. I couldn't image so serious damage but last autumn I found that fantastic looking bulbs of Acis valentinae all had flies grub inside. So today I treated all pots with solution of AKTARA. It is reported as good chemical against grubs in bulbs. On pictures you can see part of my pots with snowdrops. In front rows Galanthus transcaucasicus. You can see empty pots in back rows - most likely there bulbs are killed. On another picture Galanthus panjutinii only last year described from Abchasian mountains - rebelling teritory of Georgia, actuially occupied by Russia inserting there puppet government

Janis Ruksans - Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:37

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Started blooming of Hepatica. I'm not specially multiplying them, but a pair could be offered in future - Hepatica transsilvanica and Hepatica nobilis Rosea - excellent large blooming selection from wild.

On other pictures cultivars selected by my friend Juris Egle from Grobina in Latvia. The first from new ones is Alande, Then Grobinas White and as last is Zilgme.

In additionion unidentified double blue form of Hepatica nobilis.


Janis Ruksans - Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:28

We had very cold night. Fortunately at my place came deep fog saving from further drop of temperature. In greenhouses it dropped to minus 5 C but with rising of sun all plants recovered and you can see bed with Iris rosenbackiana Tovlj Dara few hours ago.


wietse mellema - Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:09

just trying how it works, nice flowers in the greenhouse!

Janis Ruksans - Monday, 01 April 2013 14:39


Today is 1st of Aprill - the day of jokes and nature really presented for us a joke. Again it is snowing and snowing. Fortunately not so cold more - this week not lover than minus 10 forecasted. As you can see from attached pictures - everything is covered by white carpet. Although it is not coldest winter ever recorded. Average March temperature in 1942 was even 5 degrees lower than this year and colder winters were once in early 50-ies and once in early 60-ies, last century.

Fortunately in greenhouses bulbs generally alive, although not everything seem to be happy. Some leaf tops of Juno irises are damaged. Serious losses are between Onco irises and some aroids suffered, too. But in general I'm satisfied with my bulbs and how they passed this unusually cold and long winter. Snow melting offered only somewhere in mid-Aprill. But there is historical record about 80 cm of snow in my district even 18th of Aprill.