Landscaping with Bulbs--Natal/South Africa

Greg Pettit
Wed, 01 Oct 2003 03:33:00 PDT

When I lived in Queensburgh/Durban last year I had set all of my bigger
Crinum up into beds.  I did my best to emulate where they had come from.

About 200-300 Crinum macowanii were in a bed on a bank adjacent to my storm
water drain.  They were flooded every time it rained.  They lived in full
sun and most gave me at least 3 stalks per bulb.  Some even produced 5 stems
(almost at the same time). They were the first to flower (now, in mid

Down in the forest I had about 500 Crinum moorei.  They were between two
annual streams and tended to flower in mid summer.  By keeping them more
than 5 metres into thick bush, I managed to keep the Amaryllis caterpillar
at bay.  To do the same in open spaces I need to plant Tagates (Marigold).

Between the two beds I had set up an area for my Crinum acaule and
delagoense/forbesii.  I dug out a bed of about 4 metres by 2 metres and
about 500mm deep.  I back-filled with fine beach sand and sunk the
pre-mentioned two species into the beds.  They flowered in December (mid

Another large bed was home to about 2000 Eucomis hybrids.  These were also
in full sun.

In the forest I had beds/clumps of the lesser value bulbs.

On a bank that was home to a spring, I had all my species Kniphofia and
below that was a few thousand Zantedeschia ethiopica.

Further in the forest was huge clumps of Dietes grandiflora and iridioides.

When I moved here to the farm (near Pietermaritzburg) I brought a few truck
loads of bulbs up with me and just planted them anywhere to keep them going.
I am slowly separating them and planting them into beds.

The only plants not happy with the move has been the Crinum procerum
(Hawaii), Crinum asiaticum and Musa merelii (ex Kenya, I think that is the
name of my red edible bananas?).  All three are unhappy with the cold

In Durban we dropped to a minimum of 8C at night whereas here we drop to 0C
and even had 2 evenings of light frost.


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