August 30, 2012

Fall Bulbs in Pots - Three Amaryllis Sisters Bloom

NERINE MASONORUM, A TINY, EVERGREEN NERINE WITH SLENDER, GRASS-LIKE FOLIAGE, AND THUMBNAIL SIZED FLOWER HEADS THAT BLOOM PROFFUSELY IN THE LATE SUMMER IN POTS

Doesn't just seem to happen overnight? That shift from summer weather to autumn? Here in New England, it generally happens around the third week of August - a cold front passes through bringing fresh, dry, cool air, and along with it, brilliant blue skies, and chilly mornings, just around the time that one hears the kids going to the bus stop for the first classes of the year. 

Three relatives of the common Amaryllis are blooming today - all are members of the Amaryllidaceae family, but each one looks quite different than the large, showy winter-blooming Amaryllis we all know and love.

Many of the Amaryllids prefer to spend their lives in pots and containers which do not freeze, spending the winter indoors or on cold, unfrozen porches and sunrooms, exploding into bloom just when you need it - at the end of summer. These bulbs, mostly native to the southern hemisphere, extend their flower buds only when the days begin to shorten in the late summer and autumn.

 COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE SCARBOROUGH LILY OR THE BLOOD LILY, A CYRTANTHUS ELATUS SELECTION WAS ONCE A COMMON HOUSEPLANT, BUT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND TODAY. THIS ONE  BLOOMS IN A  6 INCH POT ON THE DECK, BUT IT SPENDS THE WINTER INDOORS.  THIS MAKES A GREAT HOUSE PLANT FOR WINDOWSILL CULTURE, AND IS WORTH SEEKING OUT.

NOT GROWING IN A POT, BUT IN THE GARDEN, A CLUMP OF ACIS AUTUMNALIS BLOOMS ON SCHEDULE, LATE SUMMER, IN THE ALPINE GARDEN.
Acis is rather unknown outside of fancy bulb circles, according to the Pacific Bulb Society wiki, the genus was created in 1807 by R.A. Salisbury, but in the 1800's the genus was lumped together  into the genus Leucojum, the autumn snowflakes. Taxonomists can't seem to keep this genus alone, but where ever it becomes 'lumped', we still love it, especially how it self-seeds slowly to form an ever increasingly large clump. There are a few varieties to seek out ( try Paul Christian Rare Bulbs in the UK).

2 comments :

  1. Thanks for introducing me to these three lovely bulbs, especially the last two.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such vibrant colours and gorgeous flowers. I wonder if they would take to the UK climate as would love to have them in my garden.

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