What are these January-sprouting bulbs? (Portland, OR)

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We just moved into our new house in Portland in July of 2004, so everything that happens in our yard is new to us. You guys were helpful in identifying our autumn-flowering cherry tree last fall (which is STILL blooming, by the way), so I've returned with another mystery...
All around the front of our house -- under the arbor vitae, the rhododendrons, the Japanese maple, the hydrangea, and elsewhere -- there are plants coming up. They look like they're some kind of bulbs, because of the shape of the leaves, the depth underground from which they come (I dug down 8 inches with a trowel and couldn't find the roots), and the fact that there was no trace of them late last summer, and some of them are growing in places that will be 100% shaded once the Japanese maple's leaves come in.
Having come from Zone 4 (MN), I don't know what to make of stuff vigorously popping out of the ground in January! Hell, maybe they're just weeds (but if that were the case, I'd think they'd be more widespread than just around the front yard).
I took some pictures and posted them here: http://adamschneider.net/misc/mysterybulb.html
Can someone who knows about bulbs and the West Coast take a look and tell me what we're dealing with here?
Thanks!
Adam
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Just take a chill pill and let them be.
Wait until they flower and then you will know what they are.

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On Thu, 27 Jan 2005 15:00:38 -0800, Adam Schneider

Looks like something in the Amaryllidaceae; without seeing it bloom, all we can do is make guesses from things that would be commonly planted, would tend to naturalize in your area, and would be up this early.
Just a wild guess, it could be Galanthus (Snowdrop). It naturalizes and spreads like crazy in moist gardens in the West. Once it blooms, you can make a better ID.
--
Chris Green

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My insta-impression is that it looks like it'll be Hyacinthoides non-scripta but there are other possibilities such as some species of grape hyacinth or something else altogether. You'll know for sure in February or March when they'll have judgeable buds.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Look very much like Hyacinth. Nice to have a surprise garden in a new house!
paghat wrote:

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Robert Chambers wrote:

Not always.
The house I bought a few years back had a mature landscape. Lots of really great stuff.
But when things started sprouting, I never knew if I was looking at weeds, or something that was supposed to be there. I ended up leaving some weeds take over a couple of spots before I knew what they were. Likewise, I'm sure, but will never know, that I weeded-out some stuff that should have stayed.
Even so, I'm still glad for my mature landscape. Had I started from scratch with a new house, I'm sure that I wouldn't have come up with such a fascinating, and varied landscape.
Anyway, I'm thinking they look like hyacinths. The warm weather of the past two weeks has got mine sprouting, too.
--
Warren H.

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Warren wrote:

That was my experience last summer with the mallow: I didn't realize it was a weed until it had colonized a good chunk of my wildflower garden. (Back in Minneapolis, I had some nice-looking mallow with striped purple flowers, but the stuff here takes up a lot of space and isn't very pretty.) As for the mint, I knew that it was technically a weed, but it didn't bother me; there are weeds and then there are WEEDS.
Moving to a completely different climate (Zone 4 to Zone 8) has been a challenge. Dandelions and sorrel I know, but there are a lot of other things that I've never seen before. But today, Jan. 27, I put pansies in a window box and had the screens open, so I'm not complaining. :)
Adam
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Adam Schneider wrote:

It is beautiful today, isn't it? I saw the andromeda about ready to bloom yesterday at work. The bulbs are starting to show--spring's about here! One of the things I really love about Portland is that spring goes for *months*!
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Kathryn Burlingham wrote:

Don't be fooled. It's only January. Usually this false spring comes in February, but it's early this year. We still have six or eight weeks during which the nighttime low can be below 32 for multiple days in a row, and the daytime high won't get over 50. A February -- or even March -- ice storm is not an unlikely event.
We've got some nice days to go out and clean-up some of the stuff we couldn't get to in fall, but it's far too early to get into spring-mode. Rose pruning time is still about three weeks away. Now would be a good time to prune grapevines, and if you must get an early start on spring, dormant spraying of fruit trees.
But spring does *not* come in January in Portland. Not even February!
--
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Warren wrote:

Hon, I grew up in the snowbelt of Upstate New York, where you grab the first signs of hope pushing their way through the snow. This is spring, trust me. There are many flavors of spring here, and it goes for months and months, with new things unfolding all the time.
Don't worry, I'm not thinking of going out and planting peas yet.
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is your mother?
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Ann Burlingham wrote:

Not yet. She does have some sort of cabbage about half grown out there, and the chard is coming along fine. The rosemary has decided to bloom a bit too. It's raining now! That's the best sort of day, some sunny blue, some gentle rain.
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Kathryn Burlingham wrote:

Tell me again how it's spring in a couple of weeks when they shut-down the city because it's encased in ice.
I come from Wisconsin, where winter meant that we were under snow from Thanksgiving to Easter. But that was nothing compared to the ice storms we can (and do) get in Portland.
Thirty-five years in the snow belt, including almost a decade driving a snowplow, so I was the guy who got up before the roads were cleared. I never used chains. I never knew anyone who even owned chains. Never had a need. Now that I'm in this place that has "spring" in January, I need to have chains in my car, and there are times that I definitely need to use them.
Don't let the lack of snow or sub-zero temperatures fool you. Winter can be quite wicked here. The frost damage I had last year was quite extensive. There are times that I miss something as tame as ten inches of snow.
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Warren H.

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Warren wrote:

Last year's ice storm was *extremely* atypical. Yes, there will be more cold and wet and freezing to come, but there's also a lot of growin' going on. If I want to call this spring, how does that hurt? I'm not saying the fruit trees ought to be blooming now. Is it not really spring in April in Upstate New York because they can get snowstorms in May? Spring doesn't necessarily mean safe!
I've been in Portland for 15 years, to me, spring starts in February. It's a little early this year, is all.
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concerned. My primroses have been blooming for a week. My callalilies began blooming last week and my crocuses and daffodils are up, although not in bloom, yet. I expect them to be blooming soon. Oh, and my daisies are blooming wildly. Yeah!
Marg
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Warren wrote:

Grape hyacinth is a weed in many parts of Portland. Unless you like it, then whee!
A couple of things to keep a close eye out for are bindweed and blackberries. Either of those will take over if you let them. Check with your new neighbors if there's something you're not sure of--if it's a weed, they should know it.
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If it's muscari, that's fine with me. It's not getting in the way of anything, just coming up under evergreens and rhododendrons. And it goes away on its own later in the year.

I haven't seen bindweed in our yard, but there's a blackberry bramble along the driveway (between our house and the neighbors). I keep it trimmed back for safety's sake but I'm not about to sacrifice the free desserts we get from it in August. :)

My neighbors are even more clueless than I am about our local weeds, and some have lived in Portland all their lives! I was talking to someone on my block who'd never heard of sorrel and didn't realize there are multiple kinds of dandelions.
Our worst weed here so far has been the bittercress -- this is something they don't have in Minnesota, as far as I can remember, and there's loads of it all around our house here. It flowers/seeds when it's VERY small, and it loves winter.
Adam
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Adam Schneider wrote:

Hm. I'm not sure what you're referring to, and a quick look at Sunset Western's weeds pages isn't helping. I might know it if I saw it, though. But perhaps not, we seem to have a different set of problems.
I do get a lot of Johnny Jump-ups, not that I mind much, and clover in the lawn, also not something I mind. Also various weed grasses, and a number of things I don't know the names of, but know to pull out when I see them.
They should really have a weed seminar somewhere, with examples of various weeds at different stages so you can recognize them, and suggestions for the best ways to control them. Perhaps the Master Gardener group already has one, or could be talked into it.
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Kathryn Burlingham wrote:

Here's a couple local pages about the evil bittercress:
http://oregonstate.edu/dept/nursery-weeds/weedspeciespage/bittercress/bittercress_page.html
http://mint.ippc.orst.edu/bittercress.htm
(I'm not sure which species of "Cardamine" is taking over my yard, but the pictures on these pages give the general idea.)
Adam
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seems to be edible. i like eating the enemy.
http://gardenbed.com/source/14/1343_edi.asp
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