What's in bloom now

J.E. Shields jshields104@insightbb.com
Thu, 21 Nov 2002 06:05:25 PST
Hi all,

Outdoors, it is well on its way to becoming winter.  I see one spike open on Kniphofia caulescens; otherwise, it is all over for this year.

The greenhouse is my refuge in winter, and I like to have something in bloom at any given time.  Right now, there are about a dozen scattered varieties blooming.  Old reliable Moraea polystachya is floating its ethereal blue butterflies above its coarse grassy foliage.  The oxalis are starting to bloom  Oxalis bowei is putting up a good show of its large pink flowers, while O. triangularis is producing its more modest pale pink-white flowers above the vivid burgundy colored leaves.  A few buds are starting to show on O. purpurea.

The pot of Narcissus 'Fyno' has its first flower of the season open, with more buds to come.  Haemanthus deformis is going to flower for me for the very first time.  The bracts surrounding the umbel are such a clear, vivid white, it surprised me.  I'm looking forward to seeing the flowers open. H. deformis is one of the white paintbrush Haemanthus, but much whiter than my clone of H. albiflos.

The berries on Haemanthus humilis hirsutus from pollination with H. coccineus are a bright red-orange and getting pretty soft; must be time to harvest my little crop of hybrid seeds!

Cyrtantus [elatus X montanus] are in bloom again.  This is either the 2nd or the 3rd time they have bloomed this year.  I wish they were fertile!  So far I have never gotten any seed off these plants.  C. sanguineus bloomed on out-of-season flower a month ago.  In the past, I've tried to cross sanguineus with  [elatus X montanus] but never had any success either direction.

A planter full of seedling Lachenalia rubida are putting on a great show with pink-speckled flowers.  Near by, L. rubida rubra with their solid rose-pink flowers and burgundy foliage spotted with purple are also blooming.  The L. rubirda rubra came through the IBS BX from Longwood Gardens, I believe.  This is a very choice clone.

The last cyclamen blooms are on a pot of Cyclamen cilicium album.  A single surviving Androcymbium europaeum is blooming.  Too bad I threw away all the seeds it and its two departed brothers produced last year.  Massonia jasminiflora (pustulated leaf form) is starting to bloom, its small snow-white flowers offset by the black anthers. M. jasminiflora grows its leaves prostrate even in my northern greenhouse.  Next to it, what we think is M. pustulata (with smooth, plain green leaves)  holds its leaves semi-erect rather than letting them spread out and lay flat.

In the other greenhouse, the first blooms ever on seedlings of Clivia gardenii are in flower.  For the life of me, I cannot see any difference between these flowers and those of C. caulescens, also in bloom in the same greenhouse.  In both, the anthers reach just to the tips of the tepals, being neither inseerted nor excerted so far as I can see!

Finally, the first flowers are opening on Nerine bowdenii "Koen's Hardy" as a rich, deep rosy pink.  Wish me luck with its pollen!

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW    http//http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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