Saturday, September 13, 2014

South African belles


Hey, the Scadoxus are in bloom again, so it must be September. In fact it's the sixth September these South African beauties have blazed away with their hot oranges in early spring (or 'Sprinter' if you read my most recent posting). I planted them in April 2009, they bloomed in September that year, and the good news is that they're producing babies this year, as well as blooming right on schedule.

Who, what? Scadoxus, or Scadoxus puniceus if you must, but
it also answers to Natal paintbrush in some valleys.
In 2009, three blooms appeared on those long green stalks, and
since then a fourth has grown to adulthood to join them.
This year each bulb has started to produce
a set of bulblets around its base, creating a
little forest of future beauties. However,
everything Scadoxus happens rather slowly,
so I'm not expecting our fifth torch next
September, although I'm willing to be surprised.

I did mention last year (or was is the year before?) that I was trying to harvest some Scadoxus seed and get them to germinate, but there's no sign of any seedlings anywhere. Apparently the seeds need to get into moist ground fairly quickly, then stay moistish under mulch, and even then they take months to come up, but only if the planets line up and I've been a good boy, etc. As we've had some very very dry months this year, I suspect it just wasn't the right year for them (although I've been very good – just ask Pam – but it didn't do any good). So I'll try again this time round, but won't hold my breath.

Finally, the next door neighbour to our little
forest of Scadoxus is finally producing its first
flush of flowers. It's a yellow clivia, and the
shy little thing has stage fright. It's been looking
like this for more than week now – forever
'about' to flower, without going 'traa-daaaa'.
I'm prepared to wait until it's good and ready, as it's the beginning of what I hope will be an ever-expanding clump of them over coming years, much in the same way that my Scadoxus family has settled in here so well. 

As both Clivia and Scadoxus come from South Africa, I really like the fact that they not only flower together but they live side-by-side as well. Maybe I should barbecue some boerewors or bake up a batch of bobotie to make them feel at home?