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GARDEN JOBS

Taming the Wild Tulip

September 07, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

Tulipa saxatilis, a wild, yellow-centered lilac tulip from the valleys of Crete, will naturalize here; it will grow to 12 inches in the San Gabriel Valley or at the beach. If you can't find it locally, try McClure & Zimmerman Quality Flowerbulb Brokers, 1422 W. Thorndale Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60660, which sells two dozen bulbs for $10.49. Another splendid wild tulip is Tulipa clusiana (the lipstick tulip), an eight-inch, red-and-white flower from Afghanistan and the Mediterranean; two dozen cost $11.25 from McClure & Zimmerman. The yellow Tulipa sylvestris , at seven inches, is from the damp meadows of southern Europe and western Africa, and costs $10.49 for two dozen. All orders require an additional $3 for shipping charges.

Tuberous begonias should be fertilized twice a month as long as the foliage is healthy and green. To promote more bloom, pinch off the winged seedpods; you'll have flowers into November. Keep fertilizing fuchsias in the same way, picking off the dark, juicy fruit for the same reason. Fuchsias can bloom almost all year, but they'll do better if you give them a short rest period and a good pruning.

Chives are easy to grow in a sunny corner of your garden or on a patio in containers. There are two types of chives available to the kitchen gardener; onion-flavored chives and Oriental garlic chives. The former have slim, round leaves that resemble grass and have a subtle onion flavor. The latter have broader, flat leaves with a mild garlic flavor. Although both may be planted from seeds, it is easier to purchase chive transplants from nurseries or garden centers. Separate the transplants, and plant 8 to 10 of them to a group in ordinary soil. Space the groups 10 inches apart.

A new radicchio variety is available that performs marvelously in our area. 'Chioggia' is designed for mild-winter climates as it does not require a chilling period to develop crunchy, beautiful red heads. Seeds are available by mail for $1, plus a 90-cent handling fee, from Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 N. Pacific Hwy., Albany, Ore. 97321.

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