Lily Lion Heart

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Unusual Uncarina

Every summer I look forward to the blossoms of the beautiful caudiciform Uncarina roeoesliana. This Genus is in the Sesame family, and contains 11 species. They are endemic to Madagascar. Every Spring I lop off the current growing points, bring it outside in the cool greenhouse and let it regrow new shoots. In May or June I then put the pot on my stairs, where it enjoys full sun.  This year I have one growing point, and it has been blooming for over a month now. When you touch all parts of the plant (except caudex)you get this sesame like odour, quite harmless, but strong. The seed capsules are odd looking, and have hooks or horns on them. The lovely deep yellow flowers only last a couple of days, and then fall off onto the pot surface. I always think they have so much more life left in them. Pity really as they are breathtaking. Life is often fleeting! Madagascar is on my bucket list of countries to travel to for a botanical trip. Very strange oddities indeed!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sizzling Summer Days

Well it has been a very dry hot summer, to say the least. Very sad indeed, a sign of global warning. It has been a challenging year in general for plants as we had a dry winter, spring and now summer.  I lament daily "Will it ever rain again ". I water the grass daily, and must keep an eye on all my plants and water accordingly. It's a bit tiring quite honestly, but I'm not going to complain. At least my collection looks healthy and the grass verdant. Some RAIN however would be AMAZING! One has to keep the faith. Please, please, please!  

Eucomis bicolor

Eucomis 'Aloha Leia'

Belamcanda chinensis

Dianthus superbus 'Alba'

Hebe 'Raspberry Ripple'
Pelargonium sidoides

Punica granatum 'Nana'

Neofinetia falcata

This small growing monopodial orchid from Japan and Korea with just one species is a distant relative of Angraecum from Madagascar. Hard to believe! It is an erect growing epiphyte. Small clusters of up to 8 flowers are produced on compact clumping plants in summer. The flowers are delightfully fragrant, reminiscent of candy but only in the evening and early morning, then the scent dissipates only to return again. They are pure white with long 2 " spurs. I grow mine in New Zealand Sphagnum moss and bring it out for the summer into my greenhouse where it recieves shade with bright light. It also enjoys high humidity. I look forward to the blooms every year.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Aromatic Albuca

Yesterday I hosted a fabulous garden party for Cameron and Rhoda McMaster, who travelled all the way from South Africa to spend some time here in the Northern Hemisphere. A good time was had by all, and the weather was perfect.  I was in my element, and thrilled to share, and talk with Cameron about my collection of SA plants.  I thought to myself , why not do a post on Albuca, afterall, I have my recent trip photos I can include. How lovely would that be!
Albuca shawii is currently blooming in my pot, and A. humilis has already finished. A. shawii has fragrant flowers, and the grass-like foliage smells like a lemon or lime when rubbed slightly. The plant has a great deal of garden merit with candelabras of small nodding yellow flowers, with a green central stripe. Albuca is a genus from South Africa with approx. 70 species. The Albuca featured here come from the summer-rainfall region.

A. shawii

A. fastigiata (Cradock)

A. humilis (Naudes Nek)