In bloom, but Rhodophiala not

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 05 Sep 2007 15:00:43 PDT

I've given up on getting any Rhodophiala bifida to bloom for me. No luck in 
pots, no luck in the ground. And I've been trying for a very long time. One 
year there was a freak bloom that gave me hope, but that has been it. The 
ones in deep pots produce leaves. The ones in the ground may or may not 
exist anymore. We will be going on a trip to Australia in two weeks so am 
hoping some of the fall blooming things I'll get to see  before we go. My 
Nerine sarniensis hybrids are having a good year although the spikes are 
unusually long. The flowers are so lovely and shiny! And Gladiolus 
carmineus is popping into bloom all over my garden. I have some early 
Oxalis in bloom and a Haemanthus grown from seed from Doug Westfall that is 
going to bloom. It was supposed to be H. albiflos, but I think it is 
probably a hybrid instead. And the Cyclamen are spectacular.  It's been an 
unusually warm summer for us. People are raving about all the vegetables 
that they have been able to harvest so as always it is interesting to watch 
for what does better and what does worse as the weather changes. I have a 
couple of spikes on Cyrtanthus (one hybrid) and one on C. sanguineus that 
mostly got wiped out by the Narcissus bulb fly so I was surprised to 
see  the start of  a spike in the middle of some of the little offsets I 
saved when I tossed the bigger ones eaten by the grubs. So I guess there 
are some compensations for those of us not easily able to grow Lycoris and 
Rhodophiala. Still no Crocus yet however, but I can hope. One pleasure a 
couple of weeks ago was a bloom from a Scadoxus membraneus. Patty Colville 
and I shared a few seeds from Henry Pauw in South Africa in 2001 that I had 
labeled something else. I don't know how Patty did with hers, but I ended 
up with one plant that has since increased. Last year it bloomed for the 
first time and the flower bloomed in the leaves. I took a picture of it 
with me to South Africa hoping to confirm its identity and Cameron McMaster 
said it looked deformed. His wife on the other hand said something kinder 
like sometimes young plants bloom better in subsequent years and that has 
been true this year. I thought it absolutely charming this year. The 
foliage once again hugs the ground whereas the plants I grew from Doug's 
seed of the same species have foliage that is taller. The blooms of the 
plant from Henry's seed were short again, but tall enough to be seen and a 
very pleasing combination with the leaves.

Mary Sue

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