Paul Tyerman
Sat, 26 Apr 2003 05:48:00 PDT
Howdy All,

Sorry for being so late with a response to the Babiana TOTW.... I've been
struggling with Chronic Fatigue badly of late and it means that there can
be up to a week at a time that I am unable to use the computer.  Better
late than never I suppose.

It has been fascinating to read all the info on Babiana.  I certainly
learned a few bits and pieces from it (which is going to be very handy) and
I shall be potting mine into bigger pots by the sound of it.  I find that
some of mine are a bit shy to flower, so I am wondering if the shallow
planting is producing multiplying effects instead of flowering, like in
some of the Crocus species?

I have to say that above all, I am so glad that my garden cannot read
emails.  From the various TOTW and discussions I have so often seen that so
many plants are not supposed to tolerate frost at all..... when I have them
growing happily here in Canberra and getting down to at least -5'C every
year and sometimes down to -8 or -p'C.  Babianas are no exception and are
doing fine here whether received as bulbs of as seeds.  The only one I have
grown to flowering from seed is B. pulchra, but there are a couple that are
getting large enough that there may be signs of flowers this season or
definitely next season.  These have all been grown in small pots and done
fine, but I can see that some of them have been sitting at the bottom of
the pots at the end of the season as they obviously weren't happy in such
shallow pots..... but it certainly hasn't killed them, so if you only have
space for small pots then at least try them as they're likely to at least
grow even if they aren't successful in flowering.

I grow about a dozen or so species now I think, including seedlings, and I
obviously don't give them the TLC that they are "supposed" to require
(Being sick so much in the last few years means that I cannot necessarily
repot when required or look after them as well as I should) but they keep
on growing.  When happy many of the species multiply VERY well and can
crowd their pots (small pots in my case as I have said..... I just realised
that I had better clarify that as 5 or 6 inch pots that may be normal or
'squat' heights, so there isn't a great deal of space for them).

I really have to say that I have found them easy and trouble free for me
here.  As I said above, they get down to -5 to -8'C each year, and we get
to the high 30s -  low 40'C sometimes for quite long periods of time.  Most
of my pots get watering year around as I have real trouble letting a pot
dry out in summer (it is just a thing that I can't do.... I feel sorry for
them <Grin>) but I am gradually training myself to have an area where pots
are watered less frequently where they require it.  This year I am actually
going to try a "dry" area for summer as well, where the pots are seldom if
ever going to get watered....... but I am not sure I'll be able to do it as
I'll just itch to give the little dears some water.  Certainly I have never
found any problems with Babianas being watered here in summer, nor do they
mind being knocked out of pots and dried over summer in the garage.  I find
them a real no-trouble plant.

When I finally get Babiana ringens to flower for me (I have 2 and 3 year
old seedlings at the moment that are growing along happily for me at the
moment) then you'll probably all hear the cheer from wherever you are
<grin>.  That little one is at first glance VERY little like a Babiana
flower and almost resembles to me a Strelitzia flower in some ways.

Babiana pygmae on the other hand is a beautiful, upward facing, open, pale
yellow saucer flower with a dark centre.  The flower is as wide as the
plant is tall (or at least that was the case when mine flowered this year).
 Very striking in the garden and commented on by everyone who saw it

Anyway, I'd best stop chattering on about them.  I'd definitely recommend
Babianas as I have found them easy to grow and rewarding when in flower.
Some of the petal colours and shades, as well as lip markings etc, are just
wonderful and a realy treat when in flower.

If this message prompts any questions that I need to answer, please bear
with me if there is a delay.  I am at times unable to use the computer for
days due to illness, but I will respond when i next get onto the Internet
and download my email.

Hopefully this was of some use to someone, and maybe even prompts someone
to try this genus who hasn't already.  They are definitely WELL worth the
effort (what little effort that is, or course).


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Cyclamen, Crocus,
Cyrtanthus, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just about anything
else that doesn't move!!!!!

More information about the pbs mailing list