This is the busiest time of year for Telos. Orders are coming in at a steady pace and we are still finishing harvesting the dormant bulbs. Harvesting the bulbs is a dirty, dusty, unpleasant job, so I try to keep it down to about three hours or so a day, then spend the rest of the day packing orders, watering the summer growing bulbs and doing the myriad chores that a nursery requires. We often move things outside if weather permits since the dust from the dry potting mix blows away with the ocean breezes we have here. Here are my two helpers, with the littlest addition to Telos, little Gwendolyn.
This morning I finished harvesting the Calochortus bulbs. It is depressing to go down my list on the web site and see so many 'not available' notations. I grew all the species listed on the web site, but there are no sources of seed for most of these species. I bought seed in the past from Ron Ratko of Northwest Native Seed, but when he closed his business, that was that. Some seed I can gather locally, but that is not always reliable. Since I gather mostly from roadsides, populations are often wiped out by the county road crews spraying herbicides or mowing them down repeatedly. Weather plays a big role in whether there will be seed or not, and with our successive dry winters, this year was a very bad year for seed production. Of course, I pollinate my own plants, but that doesn't always give me the quantities I need, and sooner or later I lose a species to rodents or rot and simply can't replace it. It is easier to buy seed of South African bulbs than native California bulbs, and I will be expanding my collection of South Africans in the future.