Alpine Garden Society

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Meeting February 21, 2013

Once again we were able to call upon one of our own members to give an illustrated talk.

Darren Sleep’s lecture entitled ‘Cape Bulbs’ detailed a visit to South Africa ten years ago when he had the opportunity to photograph the exotic range of flowers which grow in the narrow strip of land making up the Western Cape where upwards of 2000 different species of bulbs grow in this floral kingdom. The bulbs are adapted to growing in a climate where there is autumn and winter rain followed by a hot dry summer. The bulbs have a tough outer tunic and can resist drought and high temperatures. The bulbs can remain dormant for anything up to thirty years.

Darren showed excellent photographs of plants many members had not seen before and which would not grow in the British climate. However, he was determined to try to grow these bulbs and converted his greenhouse to accommodate them. During the autumn and winter when they are in growth he keeps the temperature just above freezing and to stop them from being drawn up in the low light levels experienced he had set up reflectors on the north side. Darren now has a large range all produced from seed bought from a South African nursery. As a result of Darren’s excellent talk several members are now considering a visit to the Cape to see for themselves the wonderful floral display, whilst the less adventurous are grateful to Darren for sharing his pictures with us.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Chairman, Frank Hoyle.

Peter Bland
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