Favorite Orange Flowered Bulbs--TOW

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Mon, 15 Mar 2004 15:18:21 PST
Dear All,

We got a late start on the topic of the week last week so hopefully anyone 
still wanting to comment on Iris will do so.

The topic for this week is continuing our journey through the color 
spectrum of favorite flowers to orange. Once again I suggest, but it isn't 
mandatory, that people pick five favorites that they can grow successfully. 
So it will be helpful for readers if posters have details about where they 
garden in the body of their message or signature. Also I realize that there 
may be some disagreement about what should be included in orange versus red 
since there are some flowers that are probably in between these two colors 
just as there were a couple of yellow votes some might have called orange. 
I don't think we need to quibble about this. Something could make more than 
one color list if the person who nominates it wants it to be considered 
that color.

I am finding it extremely difficult to narrow down my choices to five 
however. I suggested to my husband that he could nominate some of those 
that almost made my list and he said that would be cheating. There are a 
number of South African Irids I love with orange flowers, but many of them 
don't bloom very long so the ones I am selecting last a bit longer. Here 
goes but not in any particular order of preference:

1. Lachenalia aloides var. aurea--This one from wild collected seed near 
Paarl doesn't have yellow flowers. They are orange and very striking and 
the leaves have spots on them and are nice too.
2. Oxalis massoniana--I have a couple of Oxalis obtusa types with nice 
orange flowers I like, but this species blooms in the fall when it is more 
welcome since it doesn't have as much competition, has interesting leaves, 
and can cover a pot with gorgeous blooms.
3. Homeria hybrids--I know these are Moraeas now but this is a way of 
distinguishing them from the other subgroups. In my garden I have wonderful 
orange Homerias that have hybridized and bloom for a very long time in spring.
4. Ornithogalum dubium--When it blooms, it has the most gorgeous flowers 
and it stay in bloom for ages and ages. Paul Tyerman and I have complained 
about how the bulbs often choose to stay under ground. Last year I bought 
three different kinds and they bloomed nicely but are sitting out this 
year. My pot of 4 that I've been growing for a number of years usually has 
one that comes up, sometimes two. This year something bizarre has happened. 
It looked like only one was going to make it up, but now it looks like it 
has divided or something. There are 9 flowering stalks coming from this one 
bulb. Probably it will bloom its heart out and that will be it. I've never 
had more than one stalk before.
5. Sandersonia aurantiaca--A number of years ago Dirk Wallace gave a whole 
lot of these to the IBS BX. I looked it up and decided I probably couldn't 
grow it, but when Dell wrote the second time asking didn't anyone want it 
as he still had some left I decided to give it a try. I think anyone could 
grow this and treat it like a house plant. I have two pots each year and 
start one several months after the other so I'll have a longer season. I 
just love those orange bells.

Just one honorable mention please. I feel very disloyal picking only South 
Africans. Last year for the first time I had Lilium pitkinense bloom for 
the first time. It is a rare Lilium from Sonoma County California and I 
thought it was really beautiful. Some people say it may be rolled into 
Lilium pardalinum and if so then I could include that one at the same time 
since it was another that almost made my list.

I hope we hear from a lot of you.

Mary Sue
Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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