What's Blooming

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 25 Sep 2003 21:42:41 PDT
Dear All,

Coming from late winter in South Africa to late summer in California is a 
bit of a shock since everything looked green to me in South Africa in spite 
of the drought and this time of year in California the hills are brown. We 
haven't had any significant rainfall since May where I live, just fog and 
light rainfall one day this month that didn't end up doing more than 
settling the dust. As Arnold keeps showing all those Colchicums and Doug 
his Haemanthus I feel compelled to report what is blooming here and show a 
couple of wiki additions as well. Gladiolus carmineus which is one of my 
very faithful in the ground bulbs started blooming while I was gone and is 
still blooming throughout my garden. It has reseeded in my garden and I 
have many delightful patches. It is known as the Cliff Gladiolus as it is 
common in Hermanus where it overlooks the ocean. Here in Gualala I don't 
think it is tall enough to see the ocean, but I can see the ocean through 
the trees. I still have Amaryllis belladonna hybrids in bloom. Some more 
started while I was gone and the last to bloom last year is just now appearing.

For the first time I have blooms on pots of Nerine angustifolia and Nerine 
platypetala and there are spikes on N. bowdenii too. My first Polyxena is 
flowering too. But the two I want to share are a new Gladiolus and my first 

The Gladiolus is going to be another one of those memory plants we talked 
about as a topic of the week. It is G. martleyi.
This is another one of those that blooms before the leaves appear. It is 
very delicate, pink with pretty markings on the lower tepals. The reason 
why it has special meaning for me this year is that it came from IBSA seed 
collected by Gordon Summerfield in Betty's Bay. I had quite a few very 
interesting conversations on my trip to South Africa with Gordon. Next week 
when we are talking about the IBSA meeting I will probably devote a day to 
some of the things I learned from Gordon. Secondly my husband, Patty 
Colville, and I stayed in the delightful beach house of IBSA member Henry 
Pauw in Betty's Bay. Not only did he and his wife Helga feed us well before 
they left us on our own, but Henry also drove us around the area and led us 
on a very nice hike where we had splendid views of the area. So when I 
looked on my tag to see what was blooming and looked at the details I was 
really pleased.

The other addition to the wiki is my first Oxalis to bloom in this growing 
season, Oxalis hirta 'Gothenburg'.
This Oxalis was a present from Lauw and I didn't manage to get it to bloom 
the first two years I had it, but this year I planted it in a much bigger 
pot and it has rewarded me. The regular Oxalis hirta increases radically 
each year so you need to have a lot of friends to share it with. This 
cultivar doesn't increase very much and is a bit taller. Maybe some of our 
Oxalis fans can tell us more about it.

Mary Sue

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