Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pineapple lilies

I've never been mulch of a bulb-grower, simply because I can't stand the sight of the plants after they have flowered. Slowly dying down, they seem such miserable things, yet of course it is essential that you let them go through this stage if you want to see any blooms in the following year. One exception I have made to my distaste for the ugly side of flowering bulbs is in flower now. It's my pineapple lily, Eucomis to the botanists.

Quite a lovely little spire of vaguely greenish-tinged white with purple centres and yellow feelers sniffing the air.

The plant itself is just a moderately handsome tangle of strappy green leaves, and the reason I have managed to tolerate the "dying down" period with this plant is simply that it's at the back of the garden, almost out of sight unless you wander down to look at it. And it is only one plant.

However, there is another reason for growing it in my garden. Many of the classic spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, etc need a much colder climate than Sydney's to come back reliably each year.

Eucomis is a summer-flowerer which originally comes from South Africa, and so it really likes it here in Sydney and seems to be flowering better and better with each year. It does its ugly dying down thing in late autumn and early winter, which is a much better time to look a bit decrepit (compared with the spring-flowering bulbs, which look like crap in early summer here, when everything else is just surging along with joy – they ruin the party with their miserable carrying on).

But enough talk of ugliness and decay, right now my pretty pineapple lily is a joy to behold, and enjoying its beauty at this time of year is my real reason for growing it.


Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Beautiful :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jamie~~ I have a Eucomis too. 'Sparkling Burgundy.' You're so right about the spring flowering bulbs and their unsightly slower than slow trip back to dormancy. I just hope my Eucomis made it through our colder than normal December.

Melinda said...

I agree about bulbs in general - beautiful for a few weeks, then months of decaying foliage. But your Eucomis are pretty.

Vicki S said...

What a lovely plant - I don't think I've ever spotted that flower before.