Feature Plant For August: South African Bulbs in My Garden

Last week, I discussed some well-known garden plants from South Africa, but because the post was fairly lengthy, I reserved the South African bulbs for their own separate post and designated them to be my feature plant for August! Even though, I know officially that it is the 31 July today, given that tomorrow is the first day of August and gladioli are known as the Flower of August in the Northern Hemisphere, I wanted to start the month with my feature plant post and specifically, gladioli!!!

Gladioli

Our Glads‘ were made famous in Australia, as well as the rest of the world by Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries), See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqGeQXCmRJI; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2117434/Dame-Edna-Everage-creator-Barry-Humphries-reinvented-comedy-TV-chat-shows.html; and http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18973102, though in reality, these particular showy large-flowered varieties hail from the Cape region in South Africa!!!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_9184The genus belongs to the Iris family Iridaceae and contains 260 species endemic to South Africa; 76 species endemic to Tropical Africa and 10 species native to Europe.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_9188Also known as Sword Lilies, the Latin diminutive for ‘gladius’ meaning ‘sword’ and referring to their sword-like leaves, they also bear tall flower spikes, over 1 metre tall, in Summer, though here in Australia, successive planting can ensure a continuous display from early Summer to early Autumn. In Europe, they are known as the Flower of August.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are very popular in the cut flower trade and have a long vase life, their flowers opening from the base up. They should be bought when the two lowest flowers are showing strong colour, with at least 5 buds up the spike showing clear colour. Avoid spikes with most of the flowers open, as they will not last long.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-01-01 00.00.00-19Gladioli were introduced to Europe between 1739 and 1745, the first hybrid produced by William Herbert in 1806, with hundreds of varieities bred by the 1850s. Today, there are over 10 000 registered cultivars of a variety of solids and bicolours, brights and pastels,  and colours ranging from pink, red, purple, white, yellow orange and even green. Tesselaars has a good range of cultivars, including Dame Edna’s Delights: https://www.tesselaar.net.au/gladioli.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2517-12-21 11.41.27The corms should be planted in late Autumn and Spring in a warm, well-drained sunny position, protected from the wind. They don’t like damp feet and may need staking once their stalks reach a certain height. Plant 10 to 15 cm deep and 8 to 15 cm apart, with the point of the corm facing upward, in soil, which has been pre-prepared with a little blood and bone, aged cow manure or complete fertiliser. Often planted at the back of borders, they also look good in clumps.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2518-05-22 10.28.57While we inherited two of the large hybrids, a mauve one and a soft yellow, I think I prefer the slightly daintier varieties. I have just planted some G. nanus ‘Blushing Bride’ beside the house. Each corm produces strong compact stems, 45 cm tall, which do not need staking, and two or three flower spikes, each with up to 7 white flowers with pink markings.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs4016-11-18 23.45.10-2

They multiply rapidly and are tolerant of heat and frost, so should do well in my white bed at the feet of my Tea rose, Mrs Herbert Stevens, along with another South African bulb, also in the Iridaceae family: Freesias.

Freesias

Named after German botanist and physician, Dr Friedrich Freese, freesias are native to Southern Africa from Kenya to South Africa, with the most species found in the Cape Provinces.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-13 17.33.44Most of the freesias sold today are hybrids of crosses made in the 19th century between F. refracta and F. leichtlinii, as well as with the pink and yellow forms of F. corymbosa. They have fragrant funnel-shaped flowers in a range of colours from whites and yellows to pinks, reds and mauves, over a long period from the end of Winter through Spring.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-23 18.31.41 The most fragrant of all are Grandma’s freesias, R. refracta alba, but some of the Bergunden and semidouble forms have good fragrance as well.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-23 18.31.25The flowers are zygomorphic, all growing on the one side of the stem in a single plane. However, because the stems turn at right angles just below the bottom flower, the upper part of the stem grows almost parallel to the ground and the flowers bloom along the top side of the stem, pointing upwards. They are popular in wedding bouquets and have a long vase life.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-11 11.37.14They can be grown from corm and seed, the plants naturalising well in lawns, beneath trees and along roadsides and embankments. Corms should be planted from late Summer to early Winter in well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. They look wonderful in massed plantings and really brighten up the Spring garden.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-25 12.50.47I originally planted Grandma’s freesias in my cutting garden and despite the subsequent move of their corms to the embankment above the tea garden, they are still popping up in amongst their old neighbours, the Dutch Iris. They compete with the couch grass and are naturalising well and their white flowers with splashes of gold complement the white and gold colour scheme of the Tea Garden.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-25 12.51.08This year, I decided to splash out with the brighter colours with some mixed massing Freesias and have planted these with my Blushing Brides in the bed on the front wall of the  house.

Nerines

Growing on the back wall of the house along the entrance path at the opposite time of the year, these wonderful Autumn bulbs provide welcome colour, when everything else is winding down for the year!

Also called Guernsey Lily, after naturalising on the island’s shores, they are not true lilies and are members of the Amaryllidaceae family and are more related to Lycoris and Amaryllis. Native to South Africa with 20 to 30 evergreen and deciduous species, they were named after Nereis, the sea nymph in Greek mythology, who protects sailors and their ships.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2017-05-18 14.31.13They bear clusters of up to 15 flowers with narrow reflexed petals in a range of colours from white to gold, orange, red and pink. In many species, the flowers appear before the leaves and require full sun to flower well, however, my nerines bear flowers and foliage at the same time and flower quite happily in the shade, so I suspect they are N. flexuosa alba.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-04-29 18.44.38Nerines are the ultimate low maintenance flower. Very tough and frost hardy, their only stipulations are to be left to dry out during their dormant period (Summer) and to be left to their own devices and not disturbed! Only lift and divide if overcrowded, as the plant will not bloom for two years after lifting.BlogSouthAfrBulbs3018-05-01 15.02.28-2Arum or Calla Lilies Zantedeschia aethiopica

Named for the Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschia (1773-1846) and hailing from South Africa north to Malawi, these so-called lilies are also not true lilies, belonging instead to the family Araceae. Classified rather as herbaceous tuberous perennials, they grow from fleshy rhizomes and form 1 m high, large dense clumps, wherever there is good water.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-06-26 17.43.24There are eight species in the Zantedeschia genus, as well as many hybrids with a colour range from white and pink to yellow, orange, purple and black. See: http://www.gardeninginsouthafrica.co.za/index.php/1243-november/zantedeschia-hybrids-are-easy-to-grow-and-offer-gardeners-a-vast-array-of-rainbow-colours-to-enjoy.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-18 16.50.08BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1320Popular with florists, especially in bridal and funeral arrangements, these elegant plants have attractive, lush, glossy green, upward facing, arrow-shaped foliage and a rigid vertical flower stalk, ending in a spathe flared funnel with a yellow spadix, followed by yellow oval berries. The variety I inherited in my hydrangea bed is called Green Goddess and has a creamy white spathe, splashed with green on the outer edge.

However, while I love their elegant blooms, I have also am a bit wary of them! These vigorous plants love moist sunny areas like creek banks and swamp edges and spread easily by seed and rhizome offsets, so have naturalised easily throughout the world and in some areas are so invasive that they are declared pests and banned from sale.BlogSouthAfrPlants25%IMG_3644 They can also tolerate full shade (like my hydrangea bed!), invade pasture in moist sites and have caused stock deaths, being highly toxic on ingestion. Their irritating sap can also cause eczema. Below are photos of the elegant black form.BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 007BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 008BlogSouthAfrBulbs25%jarod's 014Another hardy invasive South African bulb, with invasive tendencies is:

Monbretia Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Belonging to the Iridaceae family with 8 species and many hybrids, Crocosmia hails from tropical and eastern South Africa, its name coming from the Greek words: ‘krokos’ meaning ‘saffron’ and ‘osme‘ meaning ‘odour’, referring to the saffron-like odour produced when water was spilt on a dried specimen.BlogSouthAfrBulbs3018-01-05 16.59.59Monbretia is a hybrid bred in France from a cross of C. aurea and C. pottsi, then introduced as a garden plant in the United Kingdom in 1880. By 1911, it had escaped the garden, then spread rapidly throughout the UK and Europe (as well as all states of Australia except for the Northern Territory) both naturally (by rhizomes) and the disposal of garden waste in the late 20th century. It is now considered an invasive weed and is banned for sale in the UK, as well as in New South Wales! It thrives in moist well-drained soils sun or part shade and is frost- and heat- tolerant.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1083Its strappy, upright, spear-shaped, bright green leaves emerge from underground corms in early Spring and are followed by long, arching, zigzag spikes, bearing bright orange to red tubular flowers with long stamens in late Summer and Autumn.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2015-12-19 10.03.40BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0967 Despite its bad reputation, I am still happy to have it in my old garden, as it is very much a plant of my childhood and I still love its nodding stems and its pretty bright orange dainty bells, which complement the neighbouring agapanthus so well, both in the garden and in floral arrangements!BlogSouthAfrBulbs2015-01-20 16.04.30BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_5179BlogSouthAfrBulbs4018-01-02 10.01.58 For more information on other species and hybrids, most of which are not invasive at all, see: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Crocosmia and https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/crocosmia-montbretia.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0380BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0379Far more politically correct in growth habits, though perhaps not its alternative name, Kaffir Lily, is another bright orange South African bulb, the Clivia, a member of the Amaryllidaceae like the nerines.

Clivias : Clivia miniata

Indigenous to woodlands in South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and eastern Mpumalanga) and Swaziland, Clivias were named after Lady Charlotte Florentina Clive, the grand-daughter of Robert Clive (Clive of India), the species name ‘miniata’ meaning ‘cinnabar red’.BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-20 16.01.08 There are only six species of clivia, all of them having pendulous heads except for Clivia miniata, whose flowers point upwards. The other species can be seen at: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Cliviahttp://www.australiaclivia.com.au/clivia.aspx   and http://www.melbournecliviagroup.org.au/articles/clivia-species/.

BlogSouthAfrBulbs2016-09-29 11.25.20Clivia miniata is the most common form in Australia, their low water requirements and preference for shade making them popular under-plantings for trees here for more than 150 years!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0172 They are often found in old gardens like ours, where they are growing under the big old pepperina tree. We divided the old clumps last year and replanted them, in a bid to increase their mass, as a sea of bright orange clivias in full bloom is a marvellous sight!BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_7206Forming large clumps, they have evergreen strappy leaves and clusters of bright orange flowers  on 40 to 60 cm long stems from August to October, followed by fruiting heads, which turn from green to a luminous red.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1262 They have been hybridized extensively in Belgium, China and Japan to now include pale yellow, lemon, apricot, pink, deep orange and red and bicolour, single and double blooms, and even variegated leaf forms.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_7273BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_0285Rhodohypoxis baurii

A small genus of tuberous flowering plants in the family Hypoxidaceae and native to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, where it forms carpets in grasslands and rocky places. Tufts of grassy leaves appear from rhizomes in early Summer, followed by clusters of pink, red or white star-shaped flowers in Summer, then the plant dies back in Winter.BlogSouthAfrBulbs20%IMG_1683The genus name derives from the Greek: ‘Rhodon’ meaning ‘rose’ or ‘red’; ‘Hypo’: ‘Below’; and ‘Oxy’: ‘Pointed’, while the species was named after Rev Leopold Baur, a pharmacist, missionary and plant collector, who first collected this plant in the Cape in the 1800s.

While R. baurii is the most common species, there are a number of other species and cultivars.See: https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/Rhodohypoxis.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey like well-drained acidic soil  with a high organic content,  full sun, adequate water in Summer and dry Winters. Often planted in alpine rockeries, I grew mine in my treasure garden, but suspect I have lost it to the frost, despite the claims of frost tolerance on the tag,  and I understand other nurseries have experienced the same. See: https://www.ballyrobertgardens.com/products/rhodohypoxis-baurii!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief taster to some of the more common South African flora, which we grow here in Australia.  I would love to visit South Africa one day during its peak flowering season. It sounds amazing!

South Africa is home to more than 22,000 indigenous seed plants from almost 230 different families and representing 10 per cent of the world’s flowering species. Their enormous diversity and abundance, coupled with the varied climates and topography, supports 9 distinct biomes: Fynbos; Succulent Karoo; Desert; Nama-Karoo; Grassland; Savanna; Albany Thicket; Forests; and the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt. The Cape Floristic Region alone contains 6210 species of endemic plants. For those readers, who would like to know more about South African flora, I found these sites very informative: https://www.sa-venues.com/plant-life/ and https://www.thesabulbcompany.co.za/.

And for those of us, who may never make it to the actual source, a good place in Australia to see South African plants is the Wittunga Botanic Garden: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/visit/wittunga-botanic-garden/gardens-collections.

For the next four weeks, I am describing some of my favourite embroidery books, before featuring the Viburnum family for September’s post.

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Spring Bulbs in My Cutting Garden : Feature Plant for September

Since it is the very start of Spring, I thought I would celebrate with a post on my favourite Spring bulbs in the cutting garden. I have also included bulbs from other parts of the garden, where they fit into the same bulb type. These were our first jonquils for the season.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 15.05.18Most of the bulbs were sourced from Tesselaars (https://www.tesselaar.net.au).BlogFavNurseries20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.24.43BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 280BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 248 However, I bought the Narcissus panizzianus and Lady Tulips from Lambley Nursery (http://lambley.com.au/) and the rest of the latter from the Drewitt Bulbs stall (2nd photo below) at the Lanyon Plant Fair (http://www.drewittsbulbs.com.au/).BlogFavNurseries20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.24.04BlogSpecialistnurseries20%ReszdIMG_0650 (2)The erlicheer jonquils were given to us by a friend. We have been enjoying the jonquils for the last few weeks of Winter, so I will start with Narcissi, then progress to tulips, freesias, anemones and ranunculus.

Narcissi           Also known as  Daffodil, Daffadowndilly, Jonquil and Narcissus

Belonging to the Family Amaryllidaceae, the genus name comes from the Greek word for ‘intoxicated‘: ‘narcotic’ and is associated with the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a pond and drowned.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 178The genus arose in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene epochs and is native to the meadows and woods of Southern Europe and North Africa, with the centre of diversity in the Western Mediterranean, especially the Iberian Peninsula. Both wild and cultivated plants have naturalized widely and are hardy to Zone 5. They have been cultivated since early times and were introduced into the Far East before the 10th century. They became increasingly popular in Europe before the 16th century and were an important commercial crop in the Netherlands in the late 19th century. Some species are now extinct, while others are threatened by increased urbanization and tourism. They are the national flower of Wales and a symbol of Spring, as well as cancer charities.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 188Description:  Perennial herbaceous, bulbiferous geophytes, which die back after flowering to an underground storage bulb. The bulbs are long-lived and naturalize easily.

Mainly green or blue-green narrow, strap-like leaves arise from the bulb.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.22Flowers normally solitary (ie one flower per stem), though there are cluster varieties, which bear their flowers in an umbel. They are generally white, yellow or both, though salmon varieties have been bred. The perianth consists of 3 parts:

Floral tube above the ovary

Outer ring of 6 tepals = undifferentiated sepals and petals

Central cup or trumpet-shaped corona

The flowers have 6 pollen-bearing stamens around a central style and an inferior trilocular ovary and are hermaphroditic, being insect-pollinated by bees, flies, butterflies and hawkmoths. They flower for 4 months from late Winter (June in Australia) to Late Spring (October in Australia) and are divided into early/ mid and late blooms. The fruit is a dry capsule, which splits to release lots of fine black seeds.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 190There are thousands of hybrids, but they are generally divided into 13 sections with up to 50 species : Trumpet; Large-cupped cultivars; Small-cupped cultivars; Double Daffodil cultivars; Triandrus cultivars; Cyclamineus cultivars; Jonquilla cultivars; Tazetta Daffodil cultivars; Poeticus daffodils; Bulbocodium cultivars (Hoop Petticoats); Split Corona cultivars and 2 Miscellaneous groups.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 016Growing Conditions:

Cold is required to initiate flowering, though some varieties tolerate more heat.

Full Winter sun is best or at least half a day.

A well-drained soil is also best.

Plant bulbs in Autumn with pointy end up 1.5 – 5 times the height of the bulb deep and 10 – 12 cm apart or more if naturalizing. Well-rotted manure can be dug into the bed a few weeks before planting the bulbs. The application of potash or a slow release fertilizer with low nitrogen content will encourage more flowers. After flowering, the leaves should be left to dry out over 6 months to allow photosynthesis to replenish the nutrients and energy of the bulb for the next season’s flowering. Bulbs should not be watered when dormant. Daffodils are propagated by bulb division. Diseases include: viruses (eg yellow stripe virus); fungal infections; and basal rot. Pests include: narcissus bulb  fly larvae; narcissus eelworm; nematodes, bulb scale mites; and slugs.Blog PHGPT2 25%Reszd2014-09-20 10.23.35Use:  Ornamental plants for Spring displays;BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 074 Mixed herbaceous and shrub borders;BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdseptember 189 Deciduous woodland plantings; Blog PHGPT2 25%Reszd2014-09-20 10.20.33Rock gardens; Naturalized meadows and lawns and even in containers.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 019They are excellent cut flowers, lasting for up to 1 week, but should not be mixed with other flowers in the same vase, unless preconditioned. Their stems emit a toxic slime, which clogs up the stems of the other flowers, causing their stems to wilt prematurely. Flowers should be picked while still in bud and no floral preservative should be used in the cold water – only a few drops of bleach. To precondition narcissi, cut the stems on the diagonal and stand alone in cold water for at least 24 hours, then discard the water, wash the container thoroughly and arrange with other flowers without recutting the stems of the Narcissi.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1470 Care should be taken when handling, as the sap can cause dermatitis, commonly known in the trade as ‘Daffodil Itch’. All daffodils are poisonous if ingested, though they have been used in traditional medicine. Narcissus produce galantamine, which is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Dementia.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.36The range of daffodils and jonquils is so extensive (there are over 25 000 cultivars!) that I am only describing the types I have in my garden. For more information on daffodils, there is a beautiful book called:  ‘Daffodil: Biography of a Flower’ by Helen O’Neill. Other titles can be found on :  http://thedaffodilsociety.com/wordpress/miscellany/books-on-daffodils-some-titles-for-the-interested-amateur-grower/. In fact this site, http://thedaffodilsociety.com/wordpress/, the blog of the Daffodil Society of Great Britain, is a mine of information with links to other societies worldwide;  other sources of information; articles on daffodil history; places to see daffodils; suppliers; growth notes and interesting obscure facts about them like the use of their juice by Arabs to cure baldness and their yellow flower dye by high-born medieval women to tint their hair and eyebrows!BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdsept 2012 012Species Daffodils:

See : http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/NarcissusSpeciesFive

Narcissus poeticus: Pheasant Eye Daffodils: ‘Actaea’

I have always loved these elegant heirloom daffodils, which are one of the earliest daffodils and probably those associated with the ancient Greek myth, which gives them their name. The species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 in his work: ‘Species Plantarum’. Their natural habitat is from Greece to France, with the northernmost wild population in a valley in West Ukraine near the Russian border.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 182They have long stems, each bearing a single flower, 7 cm wide,  with a small shallow yellow corona with a neat red rim and wide vivid, white, pointed, reflexed petals. They have an earthy clove-like fragrance. They flower late in the season and cope better with wet, poorly drained areas than most other daffodils. Best in full sun and well-drained soil, they should be planted at a depth 3 times the height of the bulb and 10 – 20 cm apart. They naturalize well.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0442Narcissus panizzianus

Another heirloom variety, which were grown by Lambleys Nursery from wild seed collected in Italy over 20 years ago. This paperwhite tazetta daffodil grows wild from Portugal to Italy and Greece in Southern Europe and Algeria and Morocco in North Africa. The 35 cm tall stems bear up to 12 pure white flowers with a spicy fragrance in Winter. They have grey green leaves and grow well in dry parts of the garden. I have planted  4 bulbs under my deciduous maple in front of my white statue, Chloe; 5 bulbs around the rusty iron ring statue; and 5 bulbs under the Bull Bay Magnolia; but while they have all produced leaves, they are yet to flower!

Narcissus x tazetta :  Fragrant Daffodils and Jonquils:

Paperwhite Ziva N. tazetta subsp papyraceus ‘Ziva’

The most commonly grown paperwhite, this long-lived frost hardy bulb hails from the West Mediterranean region : Greece, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria and can be grown from Zones 8 – 11. They have blue-grey strap-like foliage and  45 cm tall slender stems bearing clusters of highly fragrant, musk-scented, pure white star-shaped flowers from late Winter to early Spring. The bulbs are frost hardy and should be planted at a depth  of 10 – 15 cm and 10 cm apart. They flower 2 – 3 weeks after planting.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.20.13Erlicheer

These tazetta type jonquils have highly fragrant clusters of  6 – 20 cream to ivory flowers on each stem and are 30 – 75 cm high.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-15 11.43.45 Bulbs should be planted at a depth 3 times the height of the bulbs and 10 – 12 cm apart. They naturalize easily, are good in warmer climates and are one of the first narcissi to flower. And they are really tough. Our bulbs were given to us by friends while we were still renting and they sat in a box in the dark under the house for one whole season before we finally remembered them and planted them out and even the drying shrinking bulbs survived and regained their vigour after a year in the ground!BlogTinyTreasures20%ReszdIMG_0271Golden Dawn

Another fragrant cluster daffodil with broad leaves and 40 cm tall stems, each bearing 5 pale yellow flowers (each 4.5 cm wide with an orange corona). See yellow flowers next to the Actaea in the photo below. They have a strong sweet fragrance.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.47.35 Very similar to Soleil d’Or, they flower much  later in mid to late Spring. BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1072 The bulbs should be planted at a depth 1.5 – 2 times their own height and naturalize well. BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-17 15.14.52Double Daffodils: Narcissus x pseudonarcissus:

Acropolis

A late season bulb, they are 30 – 70 cm tall and have very  double, creamy white petals and petaloids with a small deep orange cup. The planting depth is 3 times the height of the bulb and they should be positioned 10 – 20 cm apart.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0522Wintersun: Wintersun is a mid-season bulb, 30 – 70 cm tall,  with a bright yellow flower.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-17 15.15.31Miniature Daffodils: Tête à Tête

These tiny daffodils have golden yellow flowers, 3 – 4cm wide, on 15 cm stems early to mid-season. Each bulb produces more than one flower- usually up to 3 – 4 and often in pairs, with the flower heads facing each other, so they look like they are engaged in a private conversation, ‘tête à tête’, thus their name! They are placed in the Miscellaneous category, as they do not fit easily into the other types. Their seed parent was a primary hybrid of N.cyclamineus and N. tazetta ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’, while the pollen parent was N. cyclamineus.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-25 11.10.08 Bulbs should be planted 5 – 15 cm apart at a depth of 3 times their height. Tough and hardy, they are tolerant to both heat and severe cold and are perfect for small gardens, rockeries, the front of beds and pots. Mine are in my treasure garden and have just flowered for the first time! The plants are sterile, but are propagated by bulb division.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-22 15.01.04Tulips:

Tulips are also very popular, highly hybridized bulbs, which have been cultivated since the 10th century. They belong to the Liliaceae or Lily Family and their genus name is the Latinized version of the Turkish name ‘tulbend’, meaning ‘turban’ and referring to the inverted flowers of some of the species.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 249Habitat:  Mountainous areas of temperate climates in Turkey and the Mediterranean areas. 14 wild species are still found in Turkey, but they are very different to the huge showy blooms of the modern hybridized tulips.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 274 History:  Wild collected plants were first hybridized in Persian gardens. They were very popular with the Seljuks and during the Tulip Era of the later Ottoman Empire, when they were a symbol of abundance and indulgence.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 260Introduced to Europe in 1594 by Carolus Clusius (1526 – 1609), a Flemish medical doctor and botanist, they became a subject of speculative frenzy in the Netherlands and a form of currency during a period called Tulipomania from 1634 – 1637, when a single bulb fetched an exhorbitantly high price!BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 314 They were also painted in many Dutch still-life paintings of the period. The Keukenhof in the Netherlands is the largest permanent display garden of tulips in the world. See: http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/footer/about-keukenhof/.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 334For more information about the fascinating history of tulips in both Turkey and the Netherlands, try to read a copy of ‘Tulipomania’ by Mike Dash.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0557Description:  Bulbous perennials with Spring flowers of a wide range of forms (single/ double), stem lengths, colours (single and bicolours) and flowering times (early/ mid/ late Spring). They have an upright clump habit with medium green to grey green glaucous foliage.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-15 17.57.48 The oblong to elliptical leaves, up to 38 cm long and 10 cm wide, twist as they rise directly from the underground bulb and have acute apices.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.45.57 The fruit is an elongated to elliptical ribbed capsule on the spent flower stem and contains many fine black seed.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1246Growing Conditions: Tulips like climates with a long cool Spring, a dry Summer and a cold Winter (Zones 5 – 7). They need a period of cool dormancy (vernalization). In areas with a warm Winter, they should be grown as an annual. They love full sun (but will tolerate partial shade) and moist, rich, well-drained soils. The bulbs should be planted in late Autumn (after 6 weeks in a brown paper bag in the fridge) at a depth of 3 times the height of the bulb- usually 10 – 20 cm deep and 10 – 15 cm apart. I usually plant them on Mothers’ Day. After flowering, leave the leaves to fully senesce before removing in Summer, so the bulbs can replenish their nutrients via photosynthesis for optimal growth the following season.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-16 17.14.40 Propagation is by bulb division or bulblet separation, the seeds taking at least 2 years to propagate! Hybrid tulip bulbs decrease in floral performance and vigour within 1 – 2 years of planting, unlike the species tulips, which get better and better! Their primary disease is bulb rot due to poor drainage, but there are also other fungal and viral diseases. The 2nd photo below shows last year’s tulips in their 2nd season.

Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1256BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 13.02.23BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-02 13.43.08Use:  Tulips are planted as a Spring accent in beds and borders, naturalized drifts and even in pots.BlogPrivCountry25%Reszdgrampians 3 146 They  are lovely in vases, but any wiring to support their heads must make allowance for the fact that their stems will continue to grow towards the light. Preservative should be avoided, as the sugar results in stem stretching, causing the flowers to flop over. Use cold water with 30 ppm chlorine and never mix with freshly cut Narcissi, until after the latter have been conditioned. Care should be taken when handling tulips, as their anthocyanin causes allergies and dermatitis. They are toxic to horses, cats and dogs.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 300Species Tulips (also known as Botanical Tulips)

There are 150 different wild species from Central Asia to Spain and Portugal. They differ to the hybrids in that they are usually much smaller in both plant height and flower size; have pointed petals;  flower from late Winter to  early Spring and like hot dry Summers; and they increase in bulb number and floral performance over the years. In the photo below, the hybrid tulip on the left dwarfs the Clusiana species tulips on the right.BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1157 A good site to consult about species tulips is : http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/TulipaSpeciesOne.

Some of them include:

Tulipa batalinii ( yellow dwarf species) and T. linifolia (red Flax-leaved or Bokharan Tulip) from the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan and Turkey.

Tulipa kaufmanniana (Water Lily Tulip): Turkestan; Low growing; Cup shaped blooms with pointed petals of variegated base colour; One of the earliest tulips to flower.

Tulipa gregii: Turkestan; Short stems and large orange-scarlet to creamy-yellow blooms.

Tulipa altaica: Central Asia; Yellow pointed petals.

Tulipa agenensis (Eyed Tulip): Middle East; Crimson red with yellow patch around black centre inside.

Tulipa hageri: Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and Greece. Red flowers. See photo below.

Tulipa saxatilis (Satin or Rock Tulip) : Bright pink flowers with yellow centres. Hails from the Southern Aegean islands, Crete, Rhodes and Western Turkey.

Tulipa tarda (Late Tulip): Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia; Yellow petals with white pointed tips.

Tulipa acuminata (Fire Flame or Turkish Tulip): Turkey; Rare heirloom tulip, described 1813; Flowers mid Spring; Long narrow scarlet and yellow petaloids with pointy ends.

BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdgrampians 1 262

Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’  Also known as Lady Tulip, Candlestick Tulip or Persian Tulip

An heirloom species, it was originally thought to be native to the Middle East, specifically Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tibet, Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, but now believed to be indigenous to Spain. It has been cultivated through much of Europe since the early 1600s. Tulipa clusiana was named after the Flemish botanist, Carolus Clusius, whose work ‘Curae Posteriores’ (1606) documents the obtaining of bulbs via a Florentine grower from Constantinople. The species is normally striped red and white like a peppermint stick, but ‘Cynthia’ is striped red and yellow. It was introduced to gardeners in 1959 by CG Van Tubergen.BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1158Description:  Narrow grey-green leaves; Solitary flowers in early Spring, borne on 25 cm stems. The pointed , rose-red tepals are edged with pale yellow on the outside and are pale yellow within. I cannot wait for this bud to open and to see the flower for the first time!BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 13.01.56Growing Conditions:  They require a chilly dormancy, so cold Winters are a requirement (Zones 3 – 8). They love full sun and perfect drainage in an organically enriched sandy soil. Plant in the Autumn, 5 – 10 cm deep and 5 – 10 cm apart. Don’t water much, as too much water during Winter dormancy results in bulb rot. These bulbs do not set seed, but are propagated by bulb offsets and stolons. The bulbs naturalize easily to form large colonies.  Diseases include gray mould and mosaic virus, while pests include aphids; slugs and snails; and mice and voles.BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-09-04 14.21.32Use: Best planted in groups of more than 15 bulbs in beds, borders, rockeries and naturalized in grass. Ingestion causes severe discomfort and the sap can cause skin irritations.

Tulipa x hybrid: 

Bokassa Tulips : Bokassa White/ Bokassa Red/  Bokassa Verandi/ Bokassa Gold

Strong growth, compact foliage and medium stems. Good for pots and small gardens.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1153Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0543BlogSpring bulbs 20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.46.26Parrot Tulips: Destiny Parrot:

A flamboyant mid season tulip with pink-red feathered petals.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0303Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0296Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 10.59.57Lily TulipsSynaeda Orange/ Claudia (pink)/ Tres Chic (white)

Late season, urn-shaped flowers with a distinct narrow waist with pointed reflexed petals.

Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0431Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0521Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0617Monet Pink:

Late blooming, huge goblet-shaped flowers on tall stems.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.15.19Freesias:

A member of the Family Iridaceae, Freesias were first described as a genus in 1866 by Chr. Fr. Echlon (1795 – 1868) and named after German botanist and doctor Friedrich Freese (1794 – 1878).

Habitat:  Eastern side of South Africa from Kenya to South Africa, most species being found in the Cape Provinces.

Description:    Herbaceous perennial flowering plants, 10 – 20 cm tall and wide, with fragrant funnel-shaped flowers, borne zygomorphically along one side of the stem, in a single plane, with all flowers facing upwards.BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-24 11.25.20Growing Conditions:  They like wet Winters and dry Summers; Full sun or light shade; Must have good drainage and be left to dry out when dormant. Plant bulbs 5 cm deep and 5 – 8 cm apart with pointed ends up.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.14Use:  Massed in garden beds and borders and in pots; In floristry, they are an excellent cut flower: the yellows, blues and whites have a longer vase-life than the reds and pinks, with some lasting 3 weeks when cut in bud. Use floral preservative.

Grandma’s Freesias ‘Alba’: Freesia refracta alba

The original and most fragrant of all the freesias, its cream flowers have hints of violet-blue and gold. Naturalizes in well-drained soils.

Freesia hybrids: Freesia x hybrida: Derived from crosses made in the 19th century between F. refracta and F. leichtlinii, as well as the resultant cultivars and the pink- and yellow-flowered forms of F. corymbosa..

Bergenden Freesias: Large bright single scented florets

Fantasia Freesias: Double flowers with sweet fragrance

Bedding Freesias: Shorter stems, so ideal for massed plantings and containers.

The last two bulbs in this post are members of the Ranunculaceae family, which contains 2346 species of flowering plants from 43 genera worldwide, the largest being: Delphiniums (365 sp); Clematis (325 sp); Thalictrum (330 sp); Aconitum (300 sp); and Ranunculus (600 sp).

 Anemones are a large genus with up to 150 species, including:

A.hupehensis (Chinese Anemone) and A. hupehensis var. japonica and A. hybrida (both called Japanese Anemone ): Fibrous roots; 90 cm tall; White and pink flowers late Summer and Autumn  on branching heads; Likes rich friable soil in semi-shade.

A.nemerosa (European Wood Anemone): Rhizomous roots, which spread quickly through the surface leaf litter under trees; White flowers in Spring; 40 varieties; Likes humus-rich soil and shade.

A.blanda (Winter Wind Flower): Rhizomes; Violet blue, pink or white; From SE Europe and Turkey.

A.sylvestris (Snowdrop Anemone): Nodding fragrant white flowers with golden stamens  late Spring/ early Summer; Ferny foliage; Fluffy seed heads; Spreads by underground runners and stolons.

Anemone coronaria  (Garden anemone/ Poppy anemone/ Wind flower)

Genus :  Anemone:  from the Greek word for ‘wind’ : ‘anemos’.

Species: coronaria:  meaning ‘crown’ and pertaining to head garlands.

Habitat:  Native to the Mediterranean region : Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Western Crete. In Israel, the Shokeda Forest, Northern Negev region, is a vast red carpet of wild anemones in Spring, while the Omalos Plain in the White Mountains, West Crete, is mainly a huge sea of red, but with pools of crimson, blue, magenta, mauve and white near the field edges.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1421History: The anemone is the national flower of Israel, but is also very popular elsewhere. The Italian nobleman, Francesco Caetani, the 8th Duke of Sermoneta (1613 – 1683), is said to have planted 28 000 in his parterres at Cisterna, south of Rome. They were also commonly painted in 17th Century Dutch paintings.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-31 11.13.19Description:

Herbaceous, tuberous perennial plants, 20 – 40 cm tall.

Basal rosette of a few palmate leaves, each with 3 deeply lobed leaflets.

Flowers are borne singly on long stems in early Spring. There is a whorl of small leaves just below each flower. Flowers are 3 – 8 cm in diameter and have 5 – 8 red, white or blue petal-like tepals, often with a black centre.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0306

There are numerous cultivars, developed over the years by gardeners interested in breeding and showing flowers. The majority of hybrids being in the De Caen (single) and St Brigid (double) groups.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 15.09.17BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.30.20Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0257Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0258I planted the De Caen anemones last year and loved their single simple flowers in a multitude of colours over a long period, so I will focus on them. The De Caen group was supposedly bred by Mme Quetel de Caen, but certainly they were hybridized and cultivated in the Caen and Bayeux regions of France. Crosses between the single Anemone coronaria and other singles like : the starry A. pavonina, which grows wild in Greece; A. hortensis; and  the scarlet A. fulgens, resulted in hybrids like the deep purple-blue Mr Fokker; the bright red Hollandia; the deep pink Sylphide and the white blooms of The Bride.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.36.51BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.30.36BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.08Growing Conditions:  I am definitely still learning when it comes to growing anemones, as all of my corms disappeared last year, so I have since done a bit of research! Anemones grow from knobbly corms, which can be soaked overnight before planting for faster germination and growth. They do best in Zones 7 – 10, disliking heavy Winter frost or hot humid Summers. While they like moist soil when germinating, they hate too much moisture, which results in root rot. They also don’t like other plants or weeds and should be grown alone in their own bed. Perhaps, this is why I lost my anemone corms, as I had zinnias in the same bed. Information on soil type varied from a rich loam-based soil to a light sandy soil with light compost and a deep root run- I think the moisture content and drainage is the most important factor. A well-drained raised bed in full sun seems to be the best situation. Corms should be planted with their claws facing upwards 5 cm deep and 10 cm apart. They will flower 10 – 12 weeks after planting out. While traditionally planted in Autumn for Spring, they can in fact be planted all year round for constant colour- in Spring for early Summer, and again in early Summer for an Autumn display. They should be kept dry during dormancy and can be lifted and stored till the following Autumn or treated as annuals. At least, that is what I will do next time!

Pests and diseases are minimal- they can get powdery mildew or be attacked by slugs or leaf and bud eel worms.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 250Use: These beautiful bright anemones are grown for their decorative flowers in borders and rock gardens, and also for floristry. They last well as a cut flower, up to 2 weeks, if kept cool with a drop of bleach or floral preservative in the water. Do not put in a vase with Narcissi, otherwise the anemone stems will become limp. Care should be taken when handling the flowers, as the white sap can cause skin irritation and dermatitis. Ingestion can cause mild stomach upset.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1188BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1465Ranunculus

A large genus of 600 species including buttercups, spearworts and water crowfoots.

The genus name, Ranunculus, comes from the Latin words: ‘rana’ (‘frog’) and ‘unculus’ (‘little’), ‘little frog’, being the name given to them by Roman Pliny, as many of these plants are found in wet conditions.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdmelbourne spring 281The common buttercup found along creek beds is often meadow Buttercup, R. acris, or Creeping Buttercup, R. repens, and has single gold flowers, but the Ranunculus I grow in the cutting garden is the:

Turban Buttercup or Persian Buttercup     R. asiaticus

Also known as the Persian Crowsfoot, due to the shape of the corms). The Tecolote strain is the most common type with fully double flowers, 7 – 15 cm wide, on 30 – 45 cm stems, with a wide colour variation from bicoloured picotee and pastel mixes to single colours of white, pink, red, rose, salmon, yellow, gold and sunset orange. The Bloomingdale strain is less common, on shorter stems up to 10 inches and double flowers of pale orange, yellow, red, pink and white flowers. Last year, I ordered the Picasso collection from Tesselaars and I was thrilled with their exotic jewel-like colours.BlogFavNurseries30%Reszdgrampians 1 282Description:  Frost hardy cool-season perennials, which do best in mild Winters and long cool Springs. Lacy, celery-like leaves which form a mound 15 – 30 cm across. BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.57.18BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.56.39Lustrous, colourful double flowers with multiple, crepe-thin satiny petals in Spring.BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-17 09.28.37BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.20.06BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.57.13Growing Conditions:

Ranunculus like moderate temperatures, Zones 4 – 7, but they are winter hardy to Zone 8. In fact, they need 6 – 8 weeks of cool weather in which to sprout and grow, so should be planted in Autumn for early Spring flowers (lasting 6 – 7 weeks) or late Winter for Mid-Spring (lasting 4 – 6 weeks). They prefer full sun and a well-drained soil is essential. If the soil gets water-logged, the bed should be raised with a 5 – 7 cm layer of peat moss, compost or decomposed manure. The tubers should be planted, claws facing down, 5 cm deep and 10 – 15 cm inches apart. Water well on planting and only lightly after that, though the roots should be kept cool and moist. Flowers appear 90 days after planting. They should not be watered once dormant and the corms can be lifted and stored in colder climates, where the soil freezes. Snails and mildew can be a problem, but generally they are very hardy. They can be propagated by tuber division or seed.BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2987BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 158Use:  In borders and beds, accompanied by other cool-climate plants like forget-me-nots, calendula, primroses and pansies and Iceland Poppies (2nd photo below). BlogPrivSpec25%Reszdoctober 170BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-15 16.28.23In floristry, they are also an excellent cut flower, lasting up to 10 days with floral preservative. Change the vase water often. BlogSpringfeastg20%Reszd2015-10-29 11.01.43BlogSpringfeastg20%Reszd2015-10-29 11.00.01BlogSpringfeastg20%Reszd2015-10-29 13.46.25All types of Ranunculus are poisonous to livestock. These birds don’t look too worried! In fact, they complement the colours of the Spring bulbs! Or maybe they think vice versa!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1298This goose looks completely at home in amongst the daffodils- my daughter Caroline’s latest Feature Plant painting! Thank you, Caro!BlogSpring bulbs 20%ReszdIMG_1074