November 14, 2007

Early South African Bulbs

Bench of the larger South African Bulbs
I am trying som elarger pots for some of thebigger, and more challenging S.A. bulbs, and this winter growing season, I am dedicating a raised plunge bench for some of them, pictured here, so that they can recieve the maximum amount of sunshine. Primarily winter growers in the southern hemisphere, I probobly should add some merciry lighting to lengthen the day, but I don't know of anyone else who has done that, and besides, the additional light would undoubtedly throw off the other day length-sensitive plants. For now, these Cyrtanthus, Velithimia, Boophane, Brunvigia and Nerine species will have to settle on our weak and meager offering of sunshine in New England, as winter begins.

Oxalis flava
I am trying a few new species of Oxalis flava, there are so many forms available, this one still only produces a few single blossoms in the palest of pink, and I have yet to be able to distinguish between many of them - they all look like lupine-leaves to me!

Oxalis luteola
I am annually impressed with the blooming capacity of Oxalis luteola, one of the first bulbous Oxalis species that I acquired six years ago. It seems to like repotting, although, this year, I skipped repotting, and I am finding the there are indeed, fewer blooms. I like to repot most of my Oxalis in August, when they are dormant, and then retrive 'hidden- back-up" bulbs which the plants like to stuff, near the bottom of the pot. Presumable they act as a back-up to Baboons or other creatures who might dig the first layer, to eat. I then repot them densly, neck to neck, in the center of a bulb pan.

View of early November blooms

Some oxalis species together in a raised plunge bench, along with some late Nerine sarniensis. I love watching the oxals open on a sunny day, (closed on overcast days). They can open in 10 minutes, and one can watch them as the morning sun heats the air up.

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