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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

Go to latest contribution by David Nicholson, 05 November 2014, 16:59. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 04 November 2014, 21:46top / bottom of page
Daubenya comata

You may be familiar with the lovely yellow (or red) Daubenya aurea, sometimes exhibited at spring shows.  This rare plant grown from seed by Paul Cumbleton is rather different in character.

Daubenya comata
Gethyllis verticillata

Gethyllis is a rather bizarre genus of bulbs from dry areas in Namibia and the eastern Cape.  Most of the species make clumps of spiralling or twisted hairy leaves.  They flower when dry and apparently dormant in mid-summer, suddenly producing sweetly scented white or pink flowers a bit like crocus from the bare baked earth.  That's it then until mid-autumn, when seed pods like sausages appear, followed by new leaves.  This pot was exhibited by Paul Cumbleton, who is one of the few people in this country to have obtained seed, and to have grown it successfully to flowering.

Gethyllis verticillata
Jamesbrittenia bergae

Paul Cumbleton also showed us one non-bulbous plant - this startling red South African annual (?).

Jamesbrittenia bergae
Tropaeolum argentinum

Finally a couple of photos from my garden, both from South America, not South Africa.  Both are tropaeolums I grew from seed from one of the exchanges, and are normally treated as annuals; neither forms tubers like many of the genus.  This one germinated in the spring, and has taken months doing very little before it produces a spurt of growth and a flush of flowers as autumn was advancing.

Tropaeolum argentinum
Tropaeolum smithii

This second tropaeolum germinated in the spring of 2013, and survived the winter in a lean-to greenhouse down the side of the house.  This summer it has escaped from one corner of the greenhouse, and stretched its way up to the gutters.  With frost on its way, these will probably be the last flowers until more seedlings germinate.

Tropaeolum smithii

Contribution from Tim Ingram 05 November 2014, 12:17top / bottom of page

Lovely to see Jon as November gets into its typically wet and overcast stride. I rather like the thought of a range of winter flowering plants that can give snowdrops a run for their money and are rather more colourful (=; - and Paul grows them to perfection.

Contribution from David Nicholson 05 November 2014, 16:59top / bottom of page

Lovely to see Jon, many thanks some lovely stuff there.

One you might try Tim is Polyxena longituba, not as spectacular as Paul Cumbleton's but pretty in it's way and not difficult or particular. Mine below were from Exchange Seed sown December 2008.

 


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