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Plants in the Alpine House or Cold Frame: Flowering in November

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by David Nicholson, 21 November 2011, 20:25. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 07 November 2011, 20:02top / bottom of page

There aren't many plants left in flower in the greenhouse, now that November is here. Most of the time I'm out there I am checking whether the remaining seeds are ripe or whether botrytis has set in.

The earlier flowering species of Strumaria set good seed this year, and I have several pots with little green shoots appearing; like most South African amaryllids, Strumaria seed needs to be sown immediately it is ripe, and often germinates whilst still on the seedhead. If you manage to obtain seed from South Africa, it has usually germinated in the packet whilst in the post.

Unfortunately the weather today was overcast and miserable, but no sun is forecast for a few days, so I went ahead and took photos anyway; I felt the website needed some flowers.

Ipheion sessile

Over the last two or three years, my bulbs of Ipheion sessile have remained resolutely dormant, as I. dialystemon does for many of us. This year I determined to ignore all the information I had seen about it, and return to the way I used to grow it when it grew and flowered well. Both I. sessile and dialystemon were removed from the sand plunge in June/July, and placed on the shelf in my greenhouse, to dry out properly (I leave the bubble wrap on the roof in the summer to provide light shade, so they don't bake too badly). This treatment seems to have worked; several pans of various ipheions, nothoscordums and tristagmas started back into growth strongly when I watered them at the beginning of September.

There seem to be two forms of Ipheion sessile commonly available in cultivation in this country. In sun last week, the flowers were wide open, but of course I didn't get around to taking my camera out then. However, you can still see half open flowers. The colouring on the back of the petals is different in the two forms. In the first, originating from Mike Salmon, there is a green stripe down the back of the petal; in the other, which I have had from three different sources, there are purple markings.

Ipheion sessile

Nerine pudica has been out now for about three weeks; this is the first time I have persuaded it to flower. Last year I realised that it is a winter grower, and it now lives with most of my South African bulbs, watered over the winter, and dried out in summer.

I have posted pictures of Nothoscordum hirtellum on the forum before. It has fabulous large flowers, but in my conditions at least, the flower stems get long and floppy. It also seems loath to propagate itself vegetatively, but I haven't persuaded the three bulbs I have to set seed.

A South African bulb which has been out for about three weeks; Polyxena ensifolia v ensifolia has a fluffy head of white flowers with a distinctive and unusual scent.

Finally, this lovely form of Massonia jasminiflora opened over the weekend; I believe it to be the same as the form that Paul Cumbleton grows at Wisley.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 07 November 2011, 20:33top / bottom of page

Jon - what an intriguing range of plants! They really compliment the series of photos you have put on the Shows thread, and the examples that Paul has shown on the Wisley log. They are a variety of species that I imagine few members know a great deal about (certainly new to me, even if some of the genera are familar). I wonder if anyone might begin growing any of the extraordinary South African heathers?

Contribution from Jon Evans 10 November 2011, 15:50top / bottom of page

The sun has been out today, so I thought I would post a few more pictures of Ipheion sessile.

First the form with green markings...

and now the one with purple markings...

Massonia jasminiflora is fully out now as well, still with that charming hint of pink; I thought that might vanish as the flowers aged but it seems to be constant.

Contribution from David Nicholson 11 November 2011, 11:43top / bottom of page

Lovely stuff Jon, thanks for brightening a lousy day here.

Contribution from Jon Evans 15 November 2011, 18:08top / bottom of page
Pauridia minuta

Lots of excitement this morning, and not just because of the sunshine.

This tiny plant, rather dwarfed by the 2.5 inch pot it is growing in, is a South African bulb, Pauridia minuta, a member of the Hypoxidaceae, which I have never seen in flower before. The beautiful, perfectly formed flower is no more than 3/16 of an inch or 5mm across.

Pauridia minuta

Such an occasion warranted getting out my tripod and SLR camera, and macro lens, and it was still tricky to photograph; the single white flower with dark background being one of the most problematic exposures to get right. Instead of my normal exposure compensation setting (2/3 stop underexposed) I took these at 2 stops underexposed to hold the white highlights and prevent them burning out. The last image is the closest I could get with a 1:1 macro lens.

Contribution from David Nicholson 21 November 2011, 20:25top / bottom of page

Got here at last Jon. What a little gem and a species I hadn't heard of before to boot.

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