Buried Treasures: Finding and Growing the World's Choicest by Janis Rukscaron;ans

By Janis Rukscaron;ans

Take a number of chapters from a John le Carré undercover agent mystery, upload a healthy dose of unique travelogue, combination with the best books on bulb transforming into ever written, and you have got Buried Treasures. due to the fact launching his first overseas mail-order catalog in 1991, Latvian nurseryman Janis Ruksans has speedily received a name as one of many world's top-rated specialists on infrequent and strange bulbs: Juno irises striped like unique birds; gem-like corydalis; dusky, brooding fritillaries. for many years, Ruksans has been scouring distant and hazardous areas of Europe and Asia to carry again seed of the botanical treasures that he deals via his nursery, frequently contending with corrupt govt brokers, armed rebels, drunken drivers, or even (before the autumn of the Soviet Union) the KGB. when you learn Ruksans' bills of his huge travels, you will by no means examine a flowering bulb within the comparable manner back. A crocus will take you to the beaches of Lake Abant in northwestern Turkey, a tulip to the mountains of Chimgan in Uzbekistan. even though experience abounds in Buried Treasures, there is a good deal extra for the gardener looking reliable details. in addition to being a well known collector, Ruksans is a grower and propagator of bulbs moment to none, and he generously stocks his specialist wisdom in regards to the care and cultivation of each significant and minor genus of bulb-forming plant. As richly diversified because the vegetation it describes, Buried Treasures will open your eyes to the wonder and fascination of the realm of bulbs.

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Brian also introduced me to Jan Pennings of the Netherlands, whom I have probably visited more often than any other foreign gardener. Today it is Jan who is growing in bulk the bulbs that were bred by me. Since Latvia regained its independence, Jan is a regular springtime visitor in my nursery. In London I met Kath Dryden and Norman Stevens. Both have generously donated their rarities to me without any kind of reward, despite the fact that bulb growing is their business. Whenever I expressed the slightest interest in any species or variety, Kath immediately supplied it to me even if there wasn’t any in her collection.

Iris subdecolorata PLATE 123. Tovaksai PLATE 125. Iris inconspicua Eremurus regelii growing in the mountains at PLATE 126. The flower spikes of Eremurus regelii swing in the breeze like cobra heads PLATE 128. An unidentified, tiny, bright red Tulipa species from the Kuramin Ridge at Oudzhasai The bicolored form of Iris orchioides sensu lato from the Kuramin Ridge forms large clumps in the wild PLATE 127. Fritillaria stenanthera is one of the easiest fritillaries of section Rhinopetalum in the garden PLATE 129.

Ranunculoides, Gagea sylvatica, and Corydalis solida. Few bulbous plants are native to Latvia, but I had almost all of them in my tiny corner garden. I suspect that my interest in the genus Corydalis can be traced back to that time. I was also eager to create a rockery, as these were very much in vogue at that time in Latvia. At its peak my rockery contained about two hundred varieties of plants, but many were merely dwarf or unusual forms of Latvian wildflowers I had found during my ramblings. My rockery exists to this day, despite the fact that no one has weeded or tended it for twenty years.

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