Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:11:07 PST
Dear Jim and Mark,

Now that Linda Foulis converted our wiki Lachenalia page last night to 
display the thumbnails and I can have a quick look I realize I have a lot 
more pictures of this genus to add to the wiki. I expect some of the 
pictures are even already resized, but I just ran out of time at the time 
to add them. At the moment there is a life time of wiki work to do so I 
have to make choices about how best to use my time, but I'll see if I can 
get some more of them added in the next couple of days.

I'm sure I've written some of this before, but as we have new people 
subscribing all the time and others who may be interested now and weren't 
before, I'll repeat some of what I've said in the past. Lachenalia is a 
favorite genus of mine although I must admit that in the beginning I 
thought the flowers were a bit weird, but they have grown on me. In their 
favor the seeds germinate easily, many of them have a long period of bloom, 
most are happy to be grown in containers (and don't need a huge pot), there 
is much variation in leaves and flowers, some of them are nicely fragrant, 
they don't need warm temperatures for you to be able to enjoy the flowers, 
and if you grow a number of species blooming starts in the fall and 
continues through the end of spring. The negatives are that they aren't 
hardy and are easily diseased. Some species are best grown under cover from 
the elements. Some of them increase a bit too rapidly and others in later 
years split into multiple bulbs with a loss of flowering.

Lachenalia rubida is a favorite just because it is first to flower in the 
fall and has cool spots on leaves, stem, and flowers. Then Lachenalia 
viridiflora with the amazingly colored turquoise flowers and L. bulbifera 
are welcome flowers in December and January. The latter serves some years 
as a Christmas flower as it is red and green and can be in bloom that time 
of the year in my location and the flowers are very large. The different 
Lachenalia aloides are big favorites although they also seem a bit prone to 
disease. I had L. aloides var. quadricolor in a raised bed for a number of 
years before I decided it didn't look very healthy and took it out. Before 
then however in the winter there were what seemed like months of beautiful 
flowers. I love L. carnosa, partly for the leaves and the stages of bloom 
which I have pictured on the wiki. Lachenalia mutabilis comes in forms that 
aren't very spectacular, but the one I grow is very pretty and makes a 
statement in mass. Lachenalia pustulata and L. unicolor which are very 
similar are both very satisfactory and I too like the ones with grass like 
leaves that bloom later in the season, L. contaminata and L. orthopetala. 
Oops I think that is more than ten and I haven't mentioned L. nervosa, L. 
junicifolia, or L. purpureocaerulea. I only have one left, but L. attenuata 
has a very nice leaf.

Some of them in my usually wet winters are not easy to grow. I've given up 
on L. zebrina although I've gotten seed to germinate. I have one or maybe 
two bulbsof it  that never come up and every year when I go to toss them, 
they are still there. I expect if they did come up the leaves would get 
diseased and the whole thing would be history. There are also some very dry 
environment species I've seen in the wild and loved that don't seem to want 
to live in Northern Coastal California either. Others  germinated well and 
did not return in later years.

I'll try to get some more pictures of other species on the wiki, but then 
the page will be too long and I'll need to split it which will take more 
time. It's hard to know what to do next.

And while you are thinking about expanding your scope Jim, don't leave out 
Romulea. It's been putting on an amazing show for me with our unusual for 
this time of the year dry weather. Romulea crocea, R. monticola, R. 
kombergensis, R. flava, R. luteoflora have all been stunning and some of 
the big reds have nice sized buds.

Mary Sue

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