Ellen Hornig's splendid collection of South African plants are all species from the Drakensberg mountains which receive rainfall in summer and are dry and cold in winter. It is here that we must look for truly hardy South African plants for our gardens. Ellen: May I suggest you also try Moraea alticola, which is the most magnificent of the high altitude, evergreen species, with big leathery leaves and large pale yellow flowers. Moraea polystachya, which Jim Waddick is bravely attempting, has a wide distribution in southern Africa, ranging from the Karoo north of Cape Town through the interior of South Africa to Namibia and Botswana. This is much more arid country, in parts receiving mostly winter rainfall, in others summer rains, but in no area is it as moist and 'temperate' as the Drakensberg. M. polystachya always sems to be a winter-growing plant and is therefore very unhappy to be frosted: it has never succeeded outside for me in southern England (where winters are not nearly as cold as in Missouri). It does very well in a pot in the alpine house, but even here the flowers sometimes fail to open properly and become a botrytis-magnet. it has never yet set seed either, and I've been growing it for 18 years! John Grimshaw Dr John M. Grimshaw Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens Sycamore Cottage Colesbourne Nr Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL53 9NP Website: http://www.colesbournegardens.org.uk/ ----- Original Message ----- From: <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Sunday, October 10, 2004 4:50 PM Subject: RE: [pbs] Morea polystachya and Morea hardiness Jim - I'm growing Moraea huttonii in the open garden, and it not only came through last winter (a cold one, down to -20F, but with outstandingingly deep and consistent snow cover) just fine, it managed a few blossoms in spring. It is not near a foundation at all. It's on a hillside which is both free-draining and damp (i..e gets lots of runoff). Nearby are Dierama pauciflorum, Eucomis bicolor, E. autumnalis, Galtonia viridiflora, Kniphofia caulescens, K. multiflora, K. ritualis, K. northiae, Berkheya multijuga, B. purpurea, Artemisia afra, and Geranium robustum, all flourishing (though the Geranium refuses to bloom). My little South Africa. :-) Ellen Hornig From: James Waddick email@example.com Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 10:33:00 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: [pbs] Morea polystachya and Morea hardiness Dear all; Seems like the few bulbs I planted on the south side of the foundation have dwindled down to one. Last year and again now it is sending up a nice looking (if small) flower spike. Last year a sudden frost killed it before any opened. Looks like the same fate this year, Alas. Surprised it persists without blooming, but as I said now only one bulb left. Anyone have better luck in a similar cold climate with M. polystacha or other Morea?. It is a pretty thing on those rare occasions it does bloom. Best Jim W.