Tag Archives: Lachenalia orchioides var. glaucina

An abundance of spring bloom

IMG_5588Starting with a small brag photo: michelias used to be white, in the main. At least the hardier varieties are generally white. Sure the tropical M. champaca is orange and M. alba is creamy yellow, but they have not shown compatibility with the hardier varieties and don’t have enough virtues to warrant using them as breeder parents. I did a little round-up of Mark’s current seedlings that we have flowering here. It has taken him 20 years of work to get to this colour range and there is a long way to go yet. A good garden plant is much more than just an interesting bloom. There are a huge number of variables when it comes to selecting a new variety for commercial release. But even I was impressed by the range of colour, flower shape and flower size that he has achieved in this line up.
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I see I optimistically posted in August on the early blooming lachenalias. I may at the time have thought there would be two or three posts charting the lachenalia season, but we are now entering the final stage so I thought I had better do a round up. From left to right we have arbuthnotiae, pallida, contaminata, orchioides var glaucina (2) and the attractive end one we have as rosea. I missed several varieties during the mid season, but one reason I missed them is that they are not fantastic performers in our conditions.
IMG_5434Glaucina is our stand-out blue, and we once gathered as many different blues as we could. It is variable in colour and somewhat frost tender, but it does at least stay within the blue spectrum (some of the other alleged blues faded out to cream or very pastelle mauve) and it increases well for us.

Lachenalia contaminata with the rockery behind

Lachenalia contaminata with the rockery behind

L. contaminata is one of the last in the season to bloom, very easy to naturalise, scented, feeds the bees (I have personally observed this) and generally under-rated.

Earlier season L. aloides and aloides quadricolor

Earlier season L. aloides and aloides quadricolor

L. aloides tricolor

L. aloides tricolor

 

 

 

 

 

L. aloides var. vanzyliae

L. aloides var. vanzyliae

L. aloides is pretty interesting as a species. I mentioned aloides quadricolor and the common form in New Zealand which may be aloides bicolor in my earlier post. Aloides tricolor then comes in much later, predominantly green but with enough red and yellow to make it visible. When these three forms of the species are so easy and reliable for us, why oh why is the most striking L. aloides var. vanzyliae so very difficult? It is a mystery to me and it was a bit of a surprise I managed to catch the small patch (which does not get any larger) when it was in flower.

Quite how I achieved this stylish, albeit over exposed image, I am not sure.

Quite how I achieved this stylish, albeit over exposed image, I am not sure.

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We are big fans of the Australian dendrobium orchids and they are at their peak right now in the woodland areas of our garden. I did a little round up of the different ones in the garden and was surprised to find the range was somewhat greater than I had thought. Somehow we do not think of Australia having such pretty and delicate wildflowers.
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Tomorrow, if the rain continues, I shall return with… clivias. Big, bright and bold.

Flowering this week – bluebells and blue lachenalias

Bluebells (more correctly hyacinthoides, used to be scillas and even endymion)

Bluebells (more correctly hyacinthoides, used to be scillas and even endymion)

Wordsworth waxed lyrical over his sea of golden daffodils (long finished here and hardly a sea) but it is the haze of bluebells that is pleasing us this week. The desirable bluebell is the English one, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which is scented and less inclined to be as over enthusiastic as the larger growing Spanish one (H. hispanica). But they are reportedly struggling to keep H. non-scripta pure in the UK and odds on what we have here are various Spanglish forms of natural hybrids. Bluebells also come in pink and white although they do not then become Pinkbells or Snowbells. The other colours have some novelty value, but for large scale drifts you can’t beat the beautiful blue. In the UK where their woodland is far more open than our forest, it is hard to surpass the romantic sight of a copse of white barked birches with a blue carpet below. Here we have to naturalise on the margins where there is sufficient light but the bulbs are not competing with full on grass cover which overwhelms everything.

If you really want to sort out the origin of your bluebells, the English ones have cream anthers whereas the Spanish ones always have blue anthers. Apparently. Presumably if you have both blue anthers and cream anthers in your patch, you have Spanglish bluebells. And in case you are too embarrassed to ask what an anther it, it is the pollen bit on the end of the stamen in the centre of the flower.

Probably lachenalia orchioides var. glaucina

Probably lachenalia orchioides var. glaucina

Bluebells are easy to naturalise and have a simple charm. Blue lachenalias take considerably more effort to build up and are much fussier about position, but have a great deal more status value. We find mutabilis is the easiest of the blue lachenalias, bur orchioides var. glaucina is showier. Over the years we have collected as many different blue and lilac lachenalias as we can find but they tend to be a little promiscuous and it is likely that we now have the species mixed. We certainly have the labels mixed. The blues flower later, are more frost tender and somewhat fussier than some of easier red, orange and yellow forms (aloides, reflexa, bulbifera and the like).