David Fenwick
Sun, 07 Dec 2003 15:23:33 PST
Hi Tony,
>>>>>>We have Chasmanthe bicolor ready to plant out in spring.  Winter temps
to -13C would be considered a mild winter here.

I'm glad I live here and thank god for Gulf Stream. Long may it continue ?

>>>>I often wonder if there we need to make higher elevation collections of
many of these species to get better winter hardiness.

It's a very good idea, however try and get some local knowledge. Higher
altitude forms may be generally hardier, but higher altitude sometimes means
thinner and free draining soils, and thus these bulbs may withstand a lot
more frost but they might not withstand similar levels of moisture.

Incidentally, I plant various Watsonia species at a depth of 12 inches here,
I get them to grow as a clump first by potting on until they in a 12 inch
clay pot. I then plant the contents making sure the corms are 12 inches
deep. They are very successful and flower every year. However planting them
this deep is a bit of a problem for a nurseryman wanting to dig and sell
I never cut the foliage down, although I'd love to, there's just so much of
it especially on the pillansii hybrids. I keep them looking good by snapping
off the old brown leaves at the base. However please take care, old leaves
and old scapes can be extremely sharp and as dangerous as Pampass or Bamboo.
Large grouping and close planting of plants in established containers seems
to work very well here, of course I don't get your temps but I think a lot
of things are well worth a try, and so many plants are still as yet
untested, or misunderstood.

Good luck Tony.

Best Wishes,

David Fenwick
The African Garden
96 Wasdale Gardens

01752 301402

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