July 25, 2010

Agapanthus save the summer garden

Agapanthus 'Storm Cloud', photographed, after a severe thunderstorm yesterday.

As the heat and humidity ravage the US, forcing lilies to burst and rot, and wilting even the most sturdy of garden perennials, I know that I can rely on the stronger African species to carry through the summer color, for they love this intense weather, and none perhaps more than the The Blue Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus. Grown in pots and large tubs, our collectios is growing, which means more summer color to enjoy, and the hummingbirds aren't complaining at all ( although, they are fighting over the best, most nectar rich blossoms).
Three Agapanthus cultivars are blooming in large pots in the garden right now. This large, un-named white form which we've had for ten years, and which I've divided into large four tub, and two blue, or violet varieties - A dark, tall cultivar 'Storm Cloud', (at the top of this post), is our darkest form in bloom right now.
 Agapanthus 'Blue Globe'
This African native genus with its strap shaped leaves, and tall, magic wand like floral stems, might be a common landscape plant in warmer climates, such as in Los Angeles and Florida, here in New England, it must be kept as a pot plant, grown in large tubs and containers, which must be brought into the cellar, or, as we do, dragged each autumn into the protection of the cold glass house for the winter. 

 Agapanthus 'Blue Globe', a lighter violet blue tint on a slightly smaller plant.

Technically a geophyte, or a bulb, most agapanthus look very un-bulb like, as do Clivia. But I always remind people to think of onions, as a bulb, with it's layers clearly reminding us of a true, scaled bulb. Then, think of the structure of leeks, and there you go - bulbs are not always what we think that they are.

 Agapanthus 'Blue Globe'
Agapanthus 'Midnight Blue'. blooms in a clay pot on the gravel circle along with other potted plants. I have two pots of  other varieties, and species, but both of these, A. inapertus ssp. pendulus, and A. 'Back in Black', have yet to bloom, being tissue cultured plantlets, which are just beginning to mature into larger foliage plants and have been upgraded to larger pots. I hope these two will bloom next summer.
With guests visiting, I picked a selection of more unusual flowers, including a few of the smaller flowered forms of Agapanthus, since I was trying to limit my palette to blue, white and green. As a cut flower, Agapanthus is very long lasting.

The 'Casa Blanca' lilies at scent the entrance to my studio. In todays hot, humid weather, the scent is almost too much.


  1. Stunning picture of the flowers, will definitely make my day. Keep posting.

  2. I now have a bout 16 containers of agapanthus, each about 8-10 round, not sure how to seperate them or when. How many agapanthus would i have in a pot like those, many?


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