December Blooms

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 14 Dec 2003 22:28:52 PST
Dear All,

While the Southern Hemisphere is enjoying a lot of blooms, this is a 
quieter time in the northern hemisphere. Like Jane I have Crocus laevigatus 
'Fontenayi' blooming and Lachenalia rubida and Lachenalia pusilla with 
other Lachenalias buds appearing. And when it is warm enough and not 
raining Oxalis luteola is still putting on a show as are Oxalis massoniana, 
Oxalis hirta, and Oxalis versicolor. My Nerines are finished blooming 
except for some I inherited from Jim Robinett (Nerine flexuosa x undulata). 
I haven't had consistent luck with any other Nerines in the ground but I 
planted these both in the ground and in pots and they both have bloomed 
every year since.

I have been enjoying the two Polyxena species that I have that are blooming 
size. I added pictures of Polyxena ensifolia to the wiki tonight.…
I tried to key this one out and it fits for Polyxena maughanii in the key 
in the Color Encyclopedia, but the latest study on this genus considers 
that species now to be part of P. ensifolia as a variety. Julian Slade 
thinks Polyxena ensifolia is so variable that maughanii shouldn't be 
signaled out for recognition as a variety so I just named mine P. 
ensifolia. I received these plants from Jim Robinett too, but wrongly 
identified. It was one of those mistakes I was happy to have. These are 
really tiny plants, but I really like them. I have sheltered them from our 
rain (2 inches Friday, almost that much Saturday so we are having a wet 
December). As they start to appear you have to be really careful in 
watering them or water just sits in the cup. I wonder how they manage in 
the wild. I also really enjoyed my second season of bloom of Polyxena 
longituba which had many more flowers this year.

Another plant blooming from Silverhill seed for the first time for me is 
Freesia fucata. This plant is very similar to Freesia alba, white with 
yellow markings and very fragrant. It obviously blooms much earlier 
however. I added some pictures of it to the wiki Freesia page.…

We find it a challenge to photograph white flowers with dark green leaves. 
Either the flowers show and the leaves are too dark or the leaves look good 
and the flowers are too white and hard to see. And it is hard to tell if 
they are in focus. Anyone have good strategies for photographing these with 
a digital camera?

Bob tried moving the Freesia pots to different locations trying to keep 
them out of the direct sun. I think he did really well, but couldn't quite 
escape shadows.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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