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Arum italicum protection

Hi all aroid/woodland perennial enthusiasts,
Seasons greetings. Arum italicum pictum is in full glorious leaf in a
garden that I maintain, and starting nicely in some donated plantings and
in my new yard of my own (no one can tell me what to do with it or anything
about the "strange" way in which I lanscape/maintain/compost). Bushy
foot-tall clumps with tropical looking leaves look like bundles that belong
in the produce section of the supermarket. Anyhow, the subject title of
this communication is not about protecting the italicums from the elements,
rather the protection they seem to be giving to other plants. I am in zone
6. With a hard freeze, we've had several nights already in the low 20F's
with wind chills below 0F, they resemble more cooked produce, like someone
dropped a pot of cooked spinach on the ground. But the leaves perk right up
with warmer temps. So far they've stayed up most this winter, just slight
drooping occasionally and right now are flattened under ice and snow. Most
seeds were uncollected this year and also the clumps have widened,
sprouting in October around a Cymbidium goerengii, Goodyera oblongifolia,
and Pleiones planted at the base of a giant tulip poplar. These woodland
semi-temperate orchids are borderline hardy in my area, with leaf tips not
being heavily covered by dry oak leaves last year being burned off and
pleione bulbs refusing to resprout in spring and the loss of the Cymbidium
flower bud.
This autumn I did not cover with extra leaves. The arums having spread grew
all around and almost through this planting, sheilding the orchids from
veiw, except directly overhead. The Pleiones of course are decidious, but I
was worried about the choking of the evergreen Cymbidium and Goodyera, even
stopping to consider removing some of this spread of italicum (I have more
friends who want some) and disturbing the whole planting. But after one of
these recent cold nights, I checked under the flopped over Arum leaves, and
the other plants looked fine. The real clincher is that once again the
goeringii has a flower bud, and its even bigger and fatter than last
year's! I'll let them stay shielded until after the natural die-off of the
italicum foilage next year in early summer and see how well they've
Sometimes even Mother Nature sends you Christmas presents.
Bonaventure Magrys
130 Hilltop Blvd.
Cliffwood Beach, NJ 07735-6001
USA  zone6

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