David Retief, cape bulb enthusiast

David Retief dretief@yahoo.com
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 02:58:25 PDT
Hi everyone,

My name is David and I live in Cape Town, South Africa.  I have been passionate about plants my whole life, and in the last 2 years have developed an obsession with Cape bulbs.  There are so many, and so much to learn, that I wanted to join this list to get as much information on cultivating cape species as I can.  Fortunately I live amongst all the bulbs I grow, so largely the climate is perfect and I am getting by without a greenhouse.  My partner Neil and I have plans to build one ourselves but have so much to do in our new garden that it has become a postponed priority.  We just finished the two ponds and a waterfall and must finish the retaining walls - we've planted cape bulbs everywhere and they are doing great!  Currently we have lachenalia aliodes and viridiflora blooming (as well as many other lachenalias getting ready,) and also onixotis stricta.  The onixotis is incredible, and I want a whole clump of them.

My collection is varied and I grow everything from seed.  My germination rate historically is about 80% which I find quite low and wonder why sometimes things just don't come up (is this a normal germination rate - wonder what everyone else gets?)  I have however constantly been surprised by seeds that germinate a whole season later.  I have about 100 species in bulb and another hundred or so as seedlings and want to collect as much as I can.  My partner decided it was time to get some money back from my obsession so we just started an online shop.  We are specializing in hard-to-find species, and of course I get some seed on the side to plant :).

I'm also in the midst of trying to fight the local city council to prevent them from sending their tractor which drags chains across the field next to our house and destroys everything.  We have identified almost 20 bulb species there so far and it makes me very sad to see them destroyed in the name of "keeping things neat."  I'm sending out queries and am at the point of approaching the council directly to try get this stopped.

I look forward to hearing about what everyone is doing and to learn more about cape species cultivation.  Thanks for having me on the list.

Kind regards,


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