Today I ventured outside and opened my greenhouse to view my beautiful Dionysia in full bloom. The daily temperature was a frigid -10 C with a windchill in the -20's. Brrrr. I had to take pictures rather quickly due to the cold as I have other tender South African bulbs in this greenhouse.
For those who do not know I have a penchant or shall we say obsession with the genus Dionysia. They are my favourite alpine and one of my favourite Genera period.
There are some 45 species of which two I grow. In the wild they mostly inhabit shaded or partially shaded cliffs and rocks. The summers are hot and extremely dry, the winters generally intensely cold with most precipitation falling as snow or early spring rains. They are a challenging alpine, although the two I grow are somewhat more manageable D. aretioides 'Bernd Wetzel' and D. tapetodes.
I swoon when I look at these plants. They are very precious to me. I call them my Persian Gems. D. aretioides comes from the Elburz mountains of Iran while tapetodes comes from NE Iran to Afghanistan. They cannot tolerate winter wet on their crowns and must be grown under glass or outdoors as nurseryman Harvey Wrightman does in a scree garden tucking them underneath layers of shale ( simulating a cliff if you will) keeping their crowns dry.