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Tweaking a Recipe 


Although Genevieve Schmidt is an excellent landscaper, I disagree with several of the statements in the well written and humorous "Recipe for Popularity" (June 4). I have been propagating and growing alstroemerias for 29 years; in general, they all need good to great drainage and thus are not "tolerant of damp soil."

Deer often eat the flower buds of alstroemeria with the exception of species like A. aurantiaca. Probably 90 percent of the alstroemerias sold in local nurseries are hybrids which makes them vulnerable to deer grazing. (Though some herds are pickier eaters than others!)

Also, if stems are cut while flowers are still in big bud (just a few days before opening) they will open and last for three weeks in a vase as long as the flower arrangement is not in the sun. However, the plant, whether in a pot or in the ground, does need full sun. But please don't cut all your alstroemeria flowers for the house because the hummingbirds love them!

I have two additional suggestions for adding to one's cut flower beds: the variegated cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior 'Variegata') and cannas, both of these plants for their leaves. They have been impressive in both large fundraising and intimate house arrangements. I have had the leaves last for two-plus weeks in a vase and they make an exceptional foil for cut flowers in an arrangement especially a dark-leaved canna like 'Wyoming.'

T. Zephyr Markowitz, Bayside

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