Orange Bulbs

David Fenwick
Sat, 20 Mar 2004 02:52:04 PST
Hi Jamie and Mary Sue,
Sorry for the delay, it's a busy time at the moment, I'm three weeks behind
in the garden because of recent cold weather and I've just taken delivery of
15 tonnes of woodchip that I'm obviously having to spread on my own.

The woodchip is to mulch both the Crocosmia and Kniphofia collections here,
so quite apt that I'll now give you a selection of those I think make the
best plants.

My favorite orange Kniphofia has to be K. rooperi, I like impressive plants
as most of you know and this one along with K. northiae are the best orange
pokers with me without a shadow of a doubt. My other favorite orange pokers
include two of my own hybrids which are self-coloured, K. 'Molten Lava' and
K. 'Amanda Harris' see but if
you want a softer more pastel orange 'Painted Lady' cannot be beaten and
regularly produces a fantastic show, as does 'Shining Sceptre' which is an
apricot orange.

On to Crocosmia, well of course the orange Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora has
given Crocosmia quite a bad name, but fortunately others aren't quite so
vigorous. The largest flowered forms is a true orange, Crocosmia 'Star of
the East', bred by George Davison in 1912 we're lucky it's still in
cultivation, it's flowers are nearly 4 inches across, and this one is one of
the hardiest of the larger flowered forms, which can be quite tender.

Another good old one by the same breeder is Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
'Prometheus', this one has large red markings in its centre.

The tallest most robust Crocosmia is also an orange, Crocosmia 'Zeal Giant',
and this one can easily reach six feet in height, it is a hybrid bred here
in Devon by Terry Jones, a well known Nerine breeder, it's best planted on a
bank where you can literally walk under it to admire it. It's a hybrid of C.
paniculata but with much larger flowers, corms can be larger than tennis

I must say that one of my favorite orange Crocosmia is Crocosmia 'Jupiter',
a masoniorum hybrid, it has narrower more glaucous leaves than the type and
it's habit is superb even when not in flower. When in flower it produces
large vivid paler orange flowers similar to masoniorum, but larger, and
these have a very elegant arrangement. However you really see a picture of
this one that does it justice, and it's certainly best seen rather than

Other oranges I like include Crocosmia aurea 'Maculata', a natural hybrid
form of C. aurea with deeper markings in its centre. Crocosmia aurea x
masoniorum 'Comet' syn. Crocosmia 'Malahide Castle' is another good two tone
orange, and one that doesn't spread as most.

'Edna Fitt' looks like it could be a good one, it's one I've just selected
here, a bicolor like 'Jackanapes' but instead of being red and yellow, it's
orange and apricot on alternate segments.

Other good new ones, nothing to do with me, include 'Festival Orange',
'Corona', 'PDB3' and 'PDB20', the latter hybrids by the Crocosmia breeder
Phillipa Browne, of Ledbury, UK. Phillipa is responsible for many well known
UK hybrids, flower size is generally small as is plant height, but the
foliage colour on most of her hybrids is bronze. Although they lack a little
on the side of hardiness, the range she has produced is fantastic.

Other orange favorites include-
Tritonia deusta subsp. miniata
Tritonia crocata 'Prince of Orange'
Chasmanthe bicolor

The latter is in flower here in the garden at the moment.

Best Wishes,

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