David Retief, cape bulb enthusiast

meneice meneice@att.net
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 12:38:36 PDT
You certainly are in the right place to have an obsession for Cape bulbs.
You also are especially fortunate to be so close to Kirstenbosch National
Botanical Garden where you can find answers to most of your questions about
Cape bulbs, their propagation, sources, cultivation, habitat, flowering time
and geographic distribution.  They may also give you a hand in stopping the
"chain gang" from disturbing the field next to your house.  Don't worry that
your questions may seem silly to them -- they've heard it all.  And they are
there to help you and others have success with plants.  

But please don't go out into the wilds and collect plants there.  Leave that
to the conservation experts, who won't be digging up any specimens either.
They will select a few seeds from various populations and grow them on, thus
taking no plants, but getting a diverse sampling for the future.

Shirley Meneice
Pebble Beach, California, USA
Zone 10, about 60F. at noon here
-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
On Behalf Of David Retief
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2012 2:58 AM
To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [pbs] David Retief, cape bulb enthusiast

Hi everyone,

My name is David and I live in Cape Town, South Africa.  I have been
passionate about plants my whole life, and in the last 2 years have
developed an obsession with Cape bulbs.  There are so many, and so much to
learn, that I wanted to join this list to get as much information on
cultivating cape species as I can.  Fortunately I live amongst all the bulbs
I grow, so largely the climate is perfect and I am getting by without a
greenhouse.  My partner Neil and I have plans to build one ourselves but
have so much to do in our new garden that it has become a postponed
priority.  We just finished the two ponds and a waterfall and must finish
the retaining walls - we've planted cape bulbs everywhere and they are doing
great!  Currently we have lachenalia aliodes and viridiflora blooming (as
well as many other lachenalias getting ready,) and also onixotis stricta. 
The onixotis is incredible, and I want a whole clump of them.

My collection is varied and I grow everything from seed.  My germination
rate historically is about 80% which I find quite low and wonder why
sometimes things just don't come up (is this a normal germination rate -
wonder what everyone else gets?)  I have however constantly been surprised
by seeds that germinate a whole season later.  I have about 100 species in
bulb and another hundred or so as seedlings and want to collect as much as I
can.  My partner decided it was time to get some money back from my
obsession so we just started an online shop.  We are specializing in
hard-to-find species, and of course I get some seed on the side to plant :).

I'm also in the midst of trying to fight the local city council to prevent
them from sending their tractor which drags chains across the field next to
our house and destroys everything.  We have identified almost 20 bulb
species there so far and it makes me very sad to see them destroyed in the
name of "keeping things neat."  I'm sending out queries and am at the point
of approaching the council directly to try get this stopped.

I look forward to hearing about what everyone is doing and to learn more
about cape species cultivation.  Thanks for having me on the list.

Kind regards,


More information about the pbs mailing list