April 2, 2012

Autumn and spring merge

A tiny rare wild Gladiolus species from the Cape of South African, Gladiolus alatus blooms in a small clay pot, just as the pot of bulbs is almost ready to go dormant for the summer. A little slug damage on the petal does the flower no hard beyond its appearance.
When one has a greenhouse,  the seasons seem to blur, both figuratively and literally. As southern hemisphere plants push toward their autumn, northern hemisphere plants start their growing year. Plants that come from areas where there is only rainfall for a short time, such as South Africa or Chile, the differences are more extreme, with many bulbs and other geophytes blooming either at the start of the rainy season, or at the end of the rainy season. The South African bulbs fall into these two categories, so collector greenhouses like mine often look best right at the beginning of the 'rainy season' ( i.e. the hose in fall" or at the end, when many bulb plants seem to send up their last hurrah. 

Those Poppies that I sowed two weeks ago are starting to spout - look carefully at the bottom! Papaver rhoeas are on their way.

A new Clivia seedling is really spectacular - this one will be a
'keeper' , but hey, we can't keep them all! Another seedling from Mr. Nakamura in Japan, this one is three times the size of our other forms, and it has a blossom that is the exact color of a creamsicle. The blossom's open aspect is also nice.

These cool spring evenings are much like October, as the seasons shifts, the plants tell us that it is all OK. This Spring Snowflake ( Leucojum vernum) is similar to autumn blooming forms, but much larger. The light angle though, is the same as October.  We might be 4 weeks ahead of schedule this year, but the Magnolias really didn't freeze as hard as we thought they would, and many plants are catching up to the same dates as last year ( I can tell, because this blog shows what plants bloomed in the same weeks last year).  Still, we are about a month ahead with many things, but nothing dangerously so.  Other plants are still a little behind too, which is odd.

Pelargoniums are beginning to bloom. This Martha Washington type is just beginning to open its large, pansy shaped blossoms. An old variety from the late 1800's we found it at an old wooden greenhouse in Maine many years ago. Most old pelargoniums like this were mainstays of the classic Victorian conservatory, but have been lost, replaced with fancy hybrids  and Proven Winner-types that have been micro-propagated.


  1. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Hi Matt, What do you recommend regarding when and what to feed Clivia. It seems that all the sources I've checked give conflicting and wildly varying info on this topic.

  2. Anonymous3:45 AM

    Hi Matt,

    I really enjoy your blog even though I don't leave comments very often. Nhu and I bloomed our Gladiolus alatus this year for the first time from seed sown in 2008 and we really enjoyed its scent of fresh apple peel!

    Jacob Knecht


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