Lachenalia growing conditions!

Laura & Dave
Mon, 05 Dec 2005 21:34:16 PST
Hi Jim and all
   I was delighted to hear about the growing conditions recommended for the 
Lachenalia.  The bug to grow this group of plants started when a friend brought 
some bulbs from Kirstenbosch Gardens as a thank you for my insisting on his 
visiting this renowned site.  Thanks to many PBS members, who have donated seed 
and bulbs, I've been able to quickly build a collection of about 25 species and 
cultivars.  But of course, I then needed to figure out how to care for them and 
help them thrive.
   I just finished building a cold frame that is attached to the south side of 
the house, and has one of the house windows opening into it. I can regulate the 
temperature of the cold frame simply by incrementally opening and closing the 
window. On warm days, I can open the frame to the outside (or will be able to as 
soon as I put that little touch in).
   The day after I got it done, we had 4" (10 cm) of snow, and the frame worked 
great, staying at about 38 deg F (4 deg C), with the window only partly open. 
It's a bit of an odd feeling, tending plants through a window, but it smells 
great, has good light and best of all the plants seem to be responding well (I 
moved the Lachenalia, Nerine and Dierama seedlings, and others from South Africa 
and South America into it about 3 weeks before completion).
   The only things that I have to watch out for now are the kidding from my wife 
regarding the view she gets while I dote on the plants, and the cat, who thinks 
I've built him a personal solarium (a little bird netting across the opening 
will solve the later problem.
   I'll report later on how this all works out in the long term, but thought I'd 
mention it now, as I'm sure I'm not the only one tempted to try some of the 
plants on the BX just a "bit" out of our native climate.

   good gardening,
     and happy holidays!

   Dave Brastow
   Tumwater, Washington (USA)  zone 7A

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