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Plants in the Alpine House or Cold Frame: Autumn Flowering South African Bulbs

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Started by: Jon Evans

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Contribution from Jon Evans 04 November 2014, 21:17top / bottom of page

The discussion area has been very quiet recently, and the first signs of winter are arriving, with a frost forecast for tomorrow night, so I thought I would post a few pictures of plants which didn't get to the shows this autumn.  I'm going to start with a few pictures of plants taken on the display table at the October meeting of the South African Bulb Group.

Empodium plicatum

Empodium plicatum is a smaller relative of a plant we have seen regularly at the autumn shows, E. flexile.  Normally it flowers in September, and is more or less over by the time of the first autumn show.  It has a similar, but rather more appealing scent. Opinions are always divided about E. flexile; some think it smells lovely, and spicy - others are reminded of toilet cleaner.  Anyway, this fine panful, staged by Bill Squire, was on its second flush of flowers - you can see the first flowers in amongst the new ones.

Empodium plicatum
Empodium plicatum

Bill Squire also displayed a second pan of E. plicatum, which was interesting primarily because it was labelled 'Not the Harry Hay form".  Most of the other plants in cultivation are the same clone, originating from Harry Hay.  This plant was similar, perhaps smaller and less vigorous, but that may have been simply that the corms have not yet reached full size.

Empodium plicatum
Empodium flexile

For comparison, here is Bill's pot of E. flexile.

Empodium flexile
Nerine humilis ex Piekenierskloof

Some of you will have seen my pictures of my plant of this small form of N. humilis.  This is a pan grown by Paul Cumbleton, who kindly gave me the bulbs I am growing.  Note that the bulbs are half-exposed to encourage flowering.

Nerine humilis ex Piekenierskloof
Nerine sarniensis hybrids

There were some fine N. sarniensis hybrids displayed, but I forgot to make a note of their names.

Nerine sarniensis hybrids
Strumaria salteri

Strumaria salteri is one of the most spectacular members of its genus with umbels of large pink flowers; this form from Paul Cumbleton (ex Nardousberg) was particularly good.

Strumaria salteri
Strumaria chaplinii

Strumaria chaplinii is more typical of its genus, with masses of small white flowers.

Strumaria chaplinii
Gladiolus martleyi

This was a lovely little gladiolus; the pictures don't do it justice.

Gladiolus martleyi
Oxalis Golden Cape

This is a plant being distributed by the Dutch as the cultivar 'Golden Cape'.  It looks very much like a selection of O. flava.

Oxalis Golden Cape
Polyxena corymbosa

My favourite Polyxena, and one I find unaccountably difficult to grow (at all, let alone to this standard).  Exhibited by Paul Cumbleton.

Polyxena corymbosa
Polyxena ensifolia

This is a lovely white form of the true Polyxena ensifolia, again exhibited by Paul Cumbleton.

Polyxena ensifolia
Massonia pygmaea

This is a form of Massonia pygmaea with fascinating leaves, exhibited by Paul Cumbleton.

Massonia pygmaea

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