by Dr. Janis Ruksans & Liga Popova


Crocuses almost finished but now cames Corydalis fest. Here 3 species, difficult for outside, but good in pots - all from Iran and starting from top - Corydalis hyrcana (16IRS-082), then 2 colour forms of Corydalis haussknechtii (17IRS-038 and 050), collected at two different, quite distant localities (the purple in wild was more impressive) and last is very special Corydalis verticillaris ssp. boissieri (17IRS-042).

Saturday, 23 March 2019 16:42

On the first picture - outside of our nursery yesterday, but in greenhouse Richard Bloom (UK) picturing the last crocuses, still in flower. In another corner blooms Corydalis hyrcana, known only from single gorge in Iran, but in another greenhouse pops out different Eremurus.

Thursday, 21 March 2019 06:26

Tagad dažas atlases no Crocus sieberi, kas savvaļā aug Krētas kalnos.

Few selections of C. sieberi, collected on Omalos Plain on Crete, Greece.

Sunday, 17 March 2019 07:17

Now 2 forms of Crocus concinnus - the first is mine selection, the next done by my Chech friend Vaclav Jošt
Then Crocus crewei
Light form of Crocus cyprius
And as last the single population of Crocus danfordiae where I observed together all 3 colours, although I'm still in some doubt, isn't there some unintentional mix made by mice in bulb shed. This spring I with great surprise found between mine, supposedly (and many years before being such) very clean stock of Bowles' White, few plants with blue flowers - typical wild Cretan: boxes with both were side by side in bulb shed.

Friday, 15 March 2019 06:23

Crocuses are in full bloom and now they are joyned by reticulata irises - so in this entry some more pictures of reticulatas.

Krokusi ir pilnos ziedos, bet tagad tiem pievienojas tīkliņskalbes.


Wednesday, 13 March 2019 06:56

Es nelietoju tādas lietas kā Messenger un līdzīgas. Ja vēlaties sazināties - rakstiet uz e-pastu janis.bulb@hawk.lv vai zvaniet 29418440. Tādēl atvainojos tiem, kam neesmu atbildējis uz jautājumiem.

I'm not using such e-tools as Messenger and similar. If you want contact me - please write to janis.bulb@hawk.lv or call me +371-29418440. So I apologize to those who didn't got my reply.

Monday, 11 March 2019 12:22

I can't withstand temptation to show crocus named after me. Crocus ruksansii for the first time blooms so abundantly in my collection. I four times climbed up to top of mountains on Karpathos Island searching for this crocus and always returned with empty hands. Now my heart and leg conditions seem not more allows to make fifth attempt to see it blooming in wild. It was described by my Ukrainian friend Dima Zubov. It is something similar to C. nubigena, but well separable by several important features and flowers are the smallest between all former "nubigenas". Anther colour vary - mostly are with black, but sometimes are plain yellow, that individual with yellow backside of flower segments has yellow anthers, too. All flowers were pollinated and I hope for good seed crop.

Saturday, 09 March 2019 05:44

Some more crocuses

Thursday, 07 March 2019 17:25

Now some crocuses blooming now in my greenhouse.

Thursday, 07 March 2019 17:22

Some of unusual reticulata iris hybrids raised by Alan Mc'Murtrie and grown by me.

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 17:46

Two days ago I returned from Portugal trip. Unfortunately I got some flu and only yesterday for few minutes visited greenhouse for some pictures. In this entry some Crocus korolkowii seedlings of unusual colour. Possibly they are hybrids. All were marked last spring.

Saturday, 23 February 2019 07:48

Regardless of minus 13 C outside I'm not out of crocuses. I'm shortening time which will be needed in summer. I'm always at collecting and harvesting collecting corm tunics, too. Now is time to open small packets, to check them and to make pictures + description on matrix, used for each sample. Now I'm working on last seasons Iranian gatherings. Between corm shells in one packet I found excellent seed pod, collected in Iran, so it was possible to add picture of seed pod and seeds and to describe them in my notes. Will it be new species or will be identified as Crocus iranicus, without leaves and flowers I can't judge now. This stock was observed on steep slope growing in dense grass near very large Anemone field of various colours. Seeds were cleaned and sawn. Fortunately I had several pots with soil prepared for some unexpected or late coming seeds. Pots were frozen but I brought them into cool veranda, where they defrosted, saw the seeds and several times put on top large snowball - to water seeds with snow-melt water, as it happens in nature. Some are telling that this stimulates germination. I don't know, but it is easy way when you have outside 35 cm of snow. View to one part of garden this morning on the last picture.

Friday, 01 February 2019 15:39
Jānis Rukšāns

After ~50 years finally officially published name of Tulipa sp. discovered by me in Kazakhstan - Tulipa berkariensis - see p. 26-39 of International Rock Gardening, # 109, January, 2019.

see link: http://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/logdir/2019Jan241548361044IRG109January2019.pdf

Saturday, 26 January 2019 07:50
Jānis Rukšāns

Here started real winter. A night before temperature dropped down to minus 24 C at my locality. Wonderful view outside - see attached pictures - flowers designed by frost and sun only.
Inside greenhouse - you can see my bulb house for potted plants on 2nd picture - temperature during night dropped to minus 13 C only. The "warm" was kept in due snow cover on roof. All beds are covered now with glass-wool and below cover at top of pots (below crocus leaves) temperature still is around +1 C, but at bottom of pots +2 C, so I'm still not worried. All the day temperature stayed at around minus 14 C, but in late evening and during last night was some "warming" and temperature didn't fell below minus 7 C. You can see covered crocus beds in my earlier entries, so I not repeat them here.
The 3rd picture shows outside fields. Snow level is good - more than 20 cm and only tops of sticks separating stocks and hare footprints are visible.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 07:12
Jānis Rukšāns

Servers of my home-page were attached and for 3 days it was impossible to open it, but this morning everything is repaired and again works. A little changed layout - the basket now opens on left side of screen instead of top as it was before, but there are no problems now with ordering and registering.

We here had snowing and snowing during last days - already twice our entry road was cleaned from excessive snow and temperature is slowly dropping, tonight we had minus 7 C, for next night even minus 13 offered, then something less but still around minus 5-7 C. Of course nothing blooms. In greenhouse when it is sun - temperature rises up to + 10 C, but everything is covered and below cover at top of pots is +0.5-1.0 C, at pot bottom + 1.5-2 C. Some days ago I returned glass-wool sheets to protect against harder frosts.

I hope that in March will be possible to open covering, because I announced OPEN DOOR days 16-17 th of March. Usually most of crocuses then are in flowers. Last year we had around 800 visitors and everyone will be welcome this year, too.

Monday, 21 January 2019 06:27

Today I got nice mail from Germany with attached photo of pink Crocus alatavicus (I'm attaching it here). In 2017 I sent abroad 2 corms of it - one was sent to Japan, another to Germany. With me left the smallest from 3 what I had. This picture inspired me to visit greenhouse where some days ago I took of the cover, because in became too warm below it. Today in greenhouse was + 4 C (outside +1-2 C). Checking my pot with my corm of pink alatavicus I found 2 noses just-just at soil surface, so I hope again for 2 corms this season. But most of crocuses still are sleeping. Only one more flower of C. caspius came out, started blooming one acquisition of C. laevigatus and still are blooming C. cartwrightianus cretense, laevigatus, pumilus and few boryi. From so named spring bloomers - only 2 pots with hittiticus - others only showed tips of leaves. Last year at this time they were in full bloom. Leaves of mine newly published C. hatayensis at present are around 20 cm long, whilst kotschyanus just just show noses on few pots. Weather broadcast warns about dropping of temperature up to minus 12 after 2 days, so after tomorrow most likely again will cover plantings. Frost wave will be around one week and then again + temperatures are announced for most of January.

Tuesday, 01 January 2019 18:30

One of my customers seeing that his orders number on home page is around 950, asked me about chances to get ordered bulbs. But it is not so dramatically.

On homepage you can see total number of orders since I started my homepage some years ago and finished editing of printed catalogues. Computer simply gives new numbers in line as they comes from the very start. After receiving of order by e-mail, I’m registering it manually on another program which is not joined with home-page and there I’m giving numbers from start of season. Every new season starts with number 001. Number’s 000 are given to those who remained in debt or paid more than necessary in previous year. When new order came from this customer, the number is changed (actualized) but on invoice is  included debt  or credit from previous season. At peak of my activities I served up to 250 orders in season, now I try to limit at 100-130 – depends from orders size for not to exceed limit of income allowed to keep small nursery status and simpler book-keeping. Last year I stopped accepting of orders at end of April and had slightly more than 100 orders only. It allowed for me to despatch orders already in June-July. I’m now in 73 year and not more so powerful and I’m working only by myself using some help only to make soil mixes and some other heavy jobs or watering and fertilizing when I’m out of home in mountains.

Saturday, 22 December 2018 05:49

Oh those weather broadcasts. I more and more can accept laws from Medieval times who weather predictors punished with death... I'm usually checking 3 companies from which most trustable (and most acceptable ) seem to be meteoblue. Most horrible prognosis usually came from Russia on Gismeteo site. Not so horrible, but not so nice as meteoblue comes from yr.no.
Meteoblue predicts that next week temperature could drop for some nights down to minus 7 C, yr.no - down to -9-10 whilst gismeteo - minus 15-19 C. All my beds were open from winter cover. Again to cover with glass-wool? Heavy job and not the nicest. Then I remembered that my Estonian friend and bulb grower Sulev Savisaar told me, that he covers his outside crocus beds where are planted species forming leaves in autumn  for winter  with plastic film used for protection against night frosts. With such cover he protects such species as Crocus goulimyi, which with me (not using such protection) invariably died in winter.
So yesterday I went to my local farmer-shop and bought 160 meters of 1.6 m wide night-frost protection film. It is very light and not expensive at all. So on attached pictures you can see how looks my Crocus beds now. On second picture you can see how this film covers very long leaves formed already by C. goulimyi, niveus, tournefortii etc.
On last picture thermometer showing temperatures - "in" on screen means temperature of air in greenhouse; "out" - is temperature between pots. I bought 4 such thermometers (they are quite expensive - almost same sum as I paid for night frost film) and each shows different temperatures, but difference is not larger than +/- 0.5 C.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018 10:35

Seems that it is the most silent time in crocus greenhouses. Everything and everyone fell in winter sleep...
Less than month ago following meteo-news about coming of hard frost from East with temperature falling down to minus 18 C, after 2 nights with temperatures minus 10-12, I called help from friends and we covered all beds for winter (picture 1) - but frost didn't came. When I again checked temperatures - below cover was +5, in greenhouse +2 C. So again sounded alarm call for help and all covers were removed (picture 2).
In the pause I built up small shed just side by side with greenhouse, for not to bring covering sheets long distance. So now again I'm waiting and ready for new frost wave. At present only dropping of temperature down to minus 7-8 C at weekend and for short time is forecasted. So crocuses are again exposed. On pictures green leaves on left side are Sternbergias, further seedlings. On the right side - the green masses are formed by leaves of autumn blooming crocuses. Still some boryi, laevigatus, melantherus, pumilus, and spring hittiticus are in flowers. In front part the green blotches are from some Ornithogalums, Muscari and some other runners.
But I used the time for ordering garden notes, preparing of research program for following season, and, of course maid new catalogue. Last summer I re-potted almost all my pot grown plants (only reticulata irises were not repotted) and in total it was 9000 pots! Incredible number. I started in May and finished in October. Looking back I can’t understand, how it was possible to offer to my customers every year at least 600 items, sometimes even 700. Now, when I made this current list, at first approach it again reached 600, but I gave me strong rule - not more than 400 items and then started very difficult task - shortening of list. What to stripe out - to be or not to be - that is the question. Total number of grown samples still exceed 6000, so you can image how much still left outside. New offer will be open on my home page 22nd of December - just before Christmas, and it is my Christmas present to all bulb and especially Crocus lovers.
But before New Year, most likely at Christmas, new Crocus species from me will be published in International Rock Gardener.

Saturday, 15 December 2018 13:21

So excited to know the new catalog is almost here!

I found your book Burried Treasures at our Arboretum library and it has certainly been keeping me busy, thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge!

Sunday, 16 December 2018 15:55

YESTERDAY I FINISHED REPOTTING! So left only to plant mine own tulip cultivars which hadn't place in my large greenhouse and will be planted in the ground. I will start this on Monday when I will have helper to dig rows and to fix in soil wooden sticks separating stocks. Soil is hard and heavy hammer is needed to do this but I have some irritation in my right hands elbow and I can't do this by myself. During last 4 months more than 9000 pots were taken out of beds, taken off bulbs, corms etc and then again filled with substrate and placed on my rised beds - each pot 2-3+ kg in weight. Still left place for 15 pots as some corms/bulbs still didn't come from abroad, but I hope to get them next week. But yesterday it was possible to use second half of day with sun for pictures and here the first of them (some really were fantastic and surprised even myself).

The first is Crocus gilanicus from Iran. In several places it is growing together with some of Crocus speciosus group as you can see on 2nd picture where at planting was not noted difference in corms - both are collected in same place at altitude 2073 m. I still didn't compare this "speciosus" with other Iranian's so I can't judge about its status.
Beautifully blooms Crocus ilgazensis - this is really true species just from Ilgaz-dag and it always is carefully hand-pollinated as otherwise ilgazensis can hybridize with pulchellus and several commercial stocks represent such hybrids which by the way are fertile in most cases.
One of the best "speciosus" of course is Crocus ibrahimi from Turkey in Europe. I really can't understand how former botanists overlooked this one regarding it mostly as pulchellus, sometimes as speciosus or as hybrid between both. The last certainly is not truth as no one pulchellus or speciosus were seen in proximity.
Crocus puringii from Ai-Petri yaila Crimea, Ukraine (at this moment occupied by Russia) is another one which surprises me for overlooking in earlier years. It was well known since 1983 that it has completely different chromosome number and their morphology what means that it can't be identified with type C. speciosus, although looks very similar to it by flower (as all speciosus group species - there still are many unidentified and unnamed both in Turkey and Iran, may be even in Greece).

Saturday, 29 September 2018 05:13


Darkness push inside from greenhouse every day earlier and earlier, so I have more time to sit at computer and can show you some crocuses.

Crocus scharojanii flavus of course suffer from such unusual hot and stay short. Today in greenhouse was + 36 C.

Unusually early started blooming of Crocus dispathaceus.

Crocus hadriaticus is one of brightest white at this moment.

Seem that very hot weather induced appearing of double flowers - here two such curiosities - Crocus turcicus and Crocus cartwrightianus

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 18:45

Today I maid herbarium of fantastical autumn bloomer from Turkey with tiny flowers, tunics as in cancellatus group but with only 3-branched (?) stigma as in pallasii. Makes up to 5 tiny (less than 25 mm long) flowers per corm. There are some other Turkish species, too – description of one is almost finished, two still need some data. Today started blooming one superb Greek crocus from near Macedonia. So I decided to go to Greece in the 2nd half of November and just to Central and North Greece, not to Islands as I planned before.
Returning to Rhizoglyphus mite. I think that I have minor problems (I only once found this mite on single died corm got from ...) for several reasons. At first it is sanitary, then my growing style - repotting and immediate replacing of pots in greenhouse where temperature this summer reached even +54 C. Mite stop increase in temperatures over 25 and dies at 44 C. Pots are kept dry up to temperature falls down in autumn to 10-15 C. But mite again inactivates at such temperatures. So there is very short period when it can increase and damage corms. I agree with Henrik Zetterlund that mite makes damage only together with fungal disease, especially with Fusarium. If your bulbs are healthy - no problems.
More problems I had with Scilla and Muscari, having perennial bulbs. This year I found some bulbs of Scilla armena with mite (?) damage and some of Scilla bifolia looked poor, too. Last year I treated all suspicious pots watering after repotting with 0.2 % solution of Actellic (pirimifos-methyl). Some bulbs in each pot were lost (may be they were more invaded) but those which alive now looked perfect. So this year I replaced acaricide to another - Dimetoat and instead of watering, sprayed with its solution after placing in pot and then covered with soil. I did this to all Scilla, Muscari, Ornithogalum species. I’m joking that I use “mite Novichok” as the medical treatment if you accidentally became poisoned with dimetoate is the same what was used to save life of Skripal in Solsbery.
But weather here is still dry and hot. How looks our waterlilies - you can see in attached foto, they are 1 m over water level in pond. Last summer all the summer water satayed over banks and few rowan trees planted in adjacent meadow died.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 18:42

Here some cool nights (temperature "only" + 9 C) encouraged start of blooming, but new hot wave is coming from Wednesday. But the reason for this entry is amazing finding in my former garden place. As I wrote before there were some species which were very poor this season and the poorest were Crocus veluchensis (all stocks) and C. banaticus (again all stocks). I repotted them but I'm not sure that there many will come up in spring.

In my old garden still are my bee hives and a week ago I went there for so named "autumn revision" - checking of winter food reserves, taking of last surplus honey (yielded additional 10 kg in average from family) and was really shocked seeing under trees where used potting mix were always deposited two brightest white flowers of C. banaticus albino. By shape they looks as cv. 'Snowdrift'. Unfortunately I hadn't camera with me and when some days later I revisited the place both flowers wilted. I carefully opened soil around dry flower stems. It was absolutely dust dry! No signs of minor moisture. There were in total 3 corms - laying only some 7 cm deep. All abundantly rooted and roots were around 5-6 cm long. Both were carefully together with soil taken out, not damaging roots and carefully potted. Another one confirmation that may be request for moisture during summer rest is not so important as suspected. Excellent crop of pelistericus and scardicus left in greenhouse without watering all the last summer and quite poor crop when they were brought outside and exposed to summer rains in former years. Up to now only one species really benefit from bringing outside was C. abantensis. So for next year I will build up roof over my summer pot deposit place to protect plants from summer rains. Will see the results...

On attached picture seedlings from 'Snowdrift' pictured in greenhouse 2 years ago, most likely at repotting time some corms escaped my attention and were thrown away together with the old used potting mix, but may be they were just cv. 'Snowdrift'.

Monday, 17 September 2018 04:57

Here still far too hot for good blooming. Yesterday in greenhouse I had +32, a day before +36 C. Only cyclamens, Acis (autumn leucojums) and some colchicums blooms well. Crocus autranii came out with already wilted tips of flower segments. C. suworovianus came out and end blooming in two days, only some cancellatus last longer, but still not started mass blooming. Next week is offered something cooler and then may be will start  more abundant blooming. By myself I'm still harvesting. Fortunately still left only collection of Alliums (some 300 pots) and Anemone blanda, biflora and Central Asian species. Anemones I watered for the first time yesterday - for tubers will soak up in soil making them larger and easier to repot. Up to now repotted only one new species which I will hope to publish next spring.

But I was really shocked yesterday, when I went to work with my bees in my former nursery place. As you now - I'm repotting crocuses every year and completely changing substrate and even pots. Used soil goes to places in open garden, mostly in grass or in shrubs - to spots where must be raised soil level. Of course, always some bulb/corm escapes, especially when seedlings with tiny bulbs/corms are repotted for the first time. As I wrote before, one of species which mostly suffered from last summers hot was crocus banaticus, It is very possible that this species could be almost lost (will see in spring). Here banaticus is not growable outside, it almost never blooms as cold came too early. And yesterday I spotted two marvellous purest white flowers of banaticus under large oak tree where used soil was scattered. Flowers was intermediate in size between 'First Snow' and 'Snowdrift', so they were seedlings. Both were well marked to be harvested at end of next season and I hope that my
C. banaticus stock will be rebuilt from them. I cross-pollinated both. It only confirms that most likely I was keeping my banaticus too wet in former summers. In wild I collected it under large beach trees where soil in summer must be completely dry and cooler than in greenhouse. May be next summer I will built some roofed place under trees for placing of those crocuses which hate too high temperatures in summer.

Still hadn't time to prepair pictures. May be later today... or tomorrow?

Saturday, 08 September 2018 04:24

The last day of July. For me it was short relating plants. Outside was 34 C (in greenhouse + 54 C), almost impossible to work, but I was going to buy new pots - just got call from my supplier that new party of Poppelman pots from Germany came - 15x15x20 cm. I just became short with them. By the way I visited TV Studio where was recorded some short talk of me about history of our freedom fighting 30 years ago.
But in early morning hours I finished repotting of current Crocus bed - there were C. tournefortii, hadriaticus, thomasii, oreocreticus, but I started with Cretan pumilus. Crop of those were more or less good. Some losses between hadriaticus and again mostly between stocks bought from other growers in West. From mine own gatherings I was mostly disappointed with so named C. hadriaticus form from near vil. Papigo near Vikos Canyon in NW Greece. It is most beautiful, comparatively dwarf form, but the worth grower from all hadriaticus. I even suppose that it could be different taxon, but for this is needed further research and comparing. May be this autumn I will revisit locality and surroundings.
Greatest part of crocuses are repotted - left around 15%. Hope to finish at start of the next week. In general left only autumn crocuses, but always appear some mis-placed and earlier unnoticed spring blooming stocks. Today such was my cultivar 'Yalta'. It is very famous crocus seedling got from C. tommasinianus seeds, which I collected during visit to Nikitsky Botanical Garden in Yalta. I donated some 20 corms to Dutch bulbgrower Jan Pennings and he is growing it on few acres and it became most popular and widespread of crocuses raised by me. But I hate its name! Why? The Yalta for all people of Baltic states (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) associates with Yalta conference where Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt at end of 2nd World War sold Baltic states to "Papa Jo" - Joseph Stalin.  My usual custom was to name cultivars after locality from where they came - so there was given name 'Yalta'. Under such name it is registered and known and I can't more to change its name. At that time I didn't associated it with Yalta Conference (it was during deep Soviet Years when different history was teached in schools).

I want to give you possibility to watch one more fragment from our XXVI national Choir Festival (the first was in 1873). It is fragment from cantata written by Latvian composer Lucia Garuta "God, Your Land is on Fire". It was written in 1944, and the first concerto was in church of St. Gertrude in Riga few days before Soviet Army reoccupied Riga, naming it as "liberation". The church was full and people staying on street. Singed choir of most famous Latvian Singers. Riga was bombed by soviet army, old Riga was in flame. Just after concerto singers runned to the last ship for refugees leaving Riga. The main theme is question to God - why you left us in hands of Eastern barbarians? What we did so bad, that you left us? If you will open link you will hear dramatical music of organ followed by choir who sings " Paternoster ". When I'm singing it and hearing this music I can't stop tears in my eyes, and you will see close-ups of many singers with tears on face (my close-up is at very end - when sounds "Amen". You can watch and hear this small fragment of cantata, which we singed during Festival, following link:


Wednesday, 01 August 2018 08:48
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