Monday, April 23, 2018

Sternbergia lutea

 Sternbergia's have done well for Fermi in Kyneton, Victoria this year we have had very little rain and it has been very hot and dry. Fermi writes;  Sternbergia lutea which appeared in early March. This is the form in "the trade" and can be obtained from many bulb sellers. These came from Otto. They are growing under deciduous trees and the flowers emerge with foliage. (above)

This colony of S. lutea grows at the base of a rock wall in full sun and the flowers usually emerge before the leaves.
Otherwise they seem to be identical to the others; we got these from Doug Bryce who was a bulb seller in Kyneton. (above)

This colony of S. lutea grows at the base of a rock wall in full sun and the flowers usually emerge before the leaves.
Otherwise they seem to be identical to the others; we got these from Doug Bryce who was a bulb seller in Kyneton, (above)

A few years ago we had a nice clump of the winter flowering Sternbergia candida - again a kind gift from Otto - which he had raised from seed. He had two seedlings and gave us one which did very well in a raised bed in full sun till two years ago when they failed to reappear! Why? It could be that they had too damp a summer as we had started watering a bed which was higher up in the garden.
These pics are from 2015. In the recent final catalogue from Hillview Rare Plants I found there was S. candida on offer so now I hope to establish it again. ( 3 Pictures above and below)

Sternbergia sicula grown from seed from Rannweig Wallis in Wales; originally from Crete. There is a bit of variation in the petal shape as these were from seed rather than one clone propagated vegetatively. In our garden they usually start in early March and continue for a month.

Click on Fermi's photo's to see them full size, what a beautiful sight it must be to see the Sternbergia's in all their glory. They need a hot position in the garden and full sun very similar to Cyclamen graecum in fact they look good together.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

                           Cyclamen rohlfsianum

In 2011 I received Cyclamen rohlfsianum seed from the AGS seed exchange.  I have now built up a good collection of Cyclamen in this way and they seem to do well in hot dry Mt Waverley.  I keep the more special ones in pots such as this rohlfsianum.  I didn’t pre-treat the seeds with moisture, just planted them about 1cm deep in a tube with a topping of grit. Only one seed germinated and I have carefully nurtured it over the years following Lydia’s instructions to the letter - ie keeping it bone dry under cover in my shade house over summer.  In February I bring it out of the shade house and if there is still room to grow in the pot, I scrape away as much of last year’s soil as I can without taking the tuber out and replenish it with new potting mix with added compost and fertilizer.  I then plunge it in water in a large tub, thoroughly soaking it, then leave it for at least a week before watering again, it is then placed in a very hot position to be baked by the February sun. I keep my fingers crossed as I wait for signs of growth or signs of rot.  This year I think I should have started the process a couple of weeks earlier as I might have had flowers on the plant.  But the leaves are stunning and I am happy to forgo the flowers to have such a beautiful plant.  It takes pride of place on our back patio where I can enjoy it every day.
Helen B

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

More Autumn Crocuses

I have a few autumn crocuses currently flowering that I thought I would share. Below are three with dark throats that I think are particularly attractive. Although we need more rain here at the moment, the lack thereof means longer flowering so I can't complain.

Crocus mathewii

How beautiful is this Crocus mathewii (Crocus Group seed, sown in autumn 2016)? I have found that many autumn crocuses start to flower after two growing seasons which is great if you're not too impatient! I use both slow release fertiliser and a few liquid feeds during the growing season (any that are advertised for flowering plants or a tomato fertiliser). 

Crocus cartwrightianus ex 'Michel'

Crocus cartwrightianus ex 'Michel', also sown at the same time produced its first flower this year too. While the purple throat is not as prominent as C. mathewii I still think it's beautiful. 

Crocus pallasii ssp pallasii

Crocus pallasii ssp pallasii grown from Marcus Harvey seed (late 2012 seed catalogue). From plants grown from seed collected in Nea Moni, Chios, Greece. This crocus can hybridise with C. mathewii and as they're flowering concurrently I can't be sure of the purity of any seed produced. This was supposed to be var 'Homeri' seed (which has black anthers) so I wonder if this is from hybrid seed. Still beautiful.

Friday, April 13, 2018

                                      Autumn flowering bulbs.

Colchicum cupanii growing very well in Otto's garden, but another of our members Jon also does extremely well with this dear little Colchicum.

Crocus biflorus ssp melantherus collected Greece by the late Marcus Harvey seed 10/2010, I am  disappointed my form does not have the blackish-purple anthers, so I will need to keep raising more seed.

Crocus caspius from  A. Edwards, Otto's form I have seen several Instagramers showing it on their pages, all have come from Otto. It is native of the Caspian region as its name suggests, also from N. Iran and adjacent USSR.

 Crocus goulimyi albus Glenbrook bulbs 1997. I have had this Crocus for years but I am so embarrassed by how it went backwards in pots coming from my other garden, as I had a lovely large patch, there but it is on the mend now and slowly increasing again.

Crocus goulimyi Otto's garden, this is such an easy Autumn flowering Crocus in Australia and it is readily available. Susan, Marcus's partner sent over a ton of seed, I hope yours has germinated as mine has and we all should have lovely clumps of this Crocus in years to come. Grows best in the garden in a warm sunny position.

Crocus hadriaticus Otto's from the late Marcus Harvey, from Greece in rocky slopes, turf or in scrub up to 1,500m. plant in a warm sunny position.

Crocus kotchyanus above and below Otto's garden an easily cultivated Crocus and looked it, as these self sown seedlings were coming up in the path.

Crocus laevigatus from Martyn Rix collection no 551 Otto's just coming out into flower.

Crocus nudiflorus always disappointing on film as you do not see how dark the flowers are, a stoloniferous Crocus from the corms and will put up new plants when it is happy.

Crocus pulchellus Michael Hoog from Marcus Harvey in Otto's garden a paler form than the ordinary C.pulchellus.

Crocus serotinus salzmannii dark P.C. 23/10/1982 a very easy Crocus multiplying well Otto's garden.

Crocus tournefortii from Jamus one of our members in Adelaide 2018, flowering in Otto's garden.

Galanthus peshmenii from R. Wallis above and below showing its beautifully shaped Autumn flowers in Otto's garden. Only described in 1994 but has been grown in collections for much longer. These plants were from seed collected by Ranveig and Bob Wallis near Kemerin, Antalya province, Turkey.  I am ashamed to say all of my Autumn flowering Galanthus are not even above the ground yet, I hope I have not lost them, I struggle as to where to plant them in the garden.

Galanthus reginae-olgae M61 a delicate Galanthus in Otto's garden. From the Peloponnese, Yugoslavia, Greece. Corfu and Sicily so quite wide spread in its native habitat and should be more readily available in Australia but it is not.

Gladiolus brevifolius in Otto's garden from Rex, a very delicate looking Gladiolus exquisitely coloured flower. Rex certainly grows some very good plants, some are very rare.

I was very excited to see Narcissus viridiflorus in flower at Otto's today. I didn't see the green flowers in the beginning, I went up to take some more shots of Crocus flowers, you could have knocked me over with a feather, so many flowers. They are just the most gorgeous Narcissus, found growing in wet sticky loam in the coastal belt of extreme southern Spain and northern Morocco, they are frost tender. Well we don't get frosts up here and Otto's Narcissus are not growing in mud. Just growing in a good garden loam.

Nerine humilis in Otto's garden from Tonkin bulbs in Kalorama address in the Nursery list in Links. The Nerine's have been very good this year I think they have enjoyed our hot dry conditions.

The very delicate bulb with an awful name Scilla haemorrhoidalis ex Tenerife, seed from 2014 Oron Peri in Israel. You can see why it has the name if you look at the flower buds, approximately 10cm high. I'm still growing this little bulb in my glass house and I have not dried it out over summer, second year to flower and it set seed last year.

 An unknown Crocus flowering in my garden I thought it may be Crocus gilanicus or Crocus cartwrightianus it could be anything as I have had both of those Crocus all three flowers at different angles and at different times.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


I have always loved Anemones they certainly prove their value flowering early winter putting on a delicate display. Recently I had to catch the train into the city for 5 days always a good time to do some reading. After reading E A Bowles and his garden I was inspired to do an article on Anemones one of Bowles favourite genus. He started on his book on Anemone's so many times never quite completing it, his beautiful illustrated water colours, painted when he was almost blind were wasted as his book was never printed. I would like to read Bowles book on The Spring Garden next.

These two photos are of the Anemone plants that you can buy from Avondale Nursery, Coventry in the UK, presented at their Nursery. The plant labels I can read are as follows - Dicentra canadensis, Anemone ranunculoides, Anemone ranunculoides lacinata, Anemone ranunculoides ssp wockeana, Anemone x lipsiensis, Anemone x lipsiensis Palida, Anemone x lipsiensis Schwefelfeuer, Anemone nemorosa Bobs Your Uncle, Anemone nemorosa Wyatts Pink, Anemone nemorosa Dark leaf, Anemone nemorosa Flushing, Anemone nemorosa Slack Top Pink, Anemone nemorosa Lismore Blue, Anemone nemorosa Tilo, Anemone nemorosa grandiflora, Anemone nemorosa Lychette, Anemone nemorosa Parlez Vou, Anemone nemorosa Helsinki and lastly Anemone nemorosa La Rochanne. I think that is an impressive list and there are Anemonellas on display to for sale. Avondale Nursery hold the National collection of anemones. Their Anemone collection of wood Anemones are grown in containers rather than in the garden to stop rogue seedlings, and to prevent varieties from running into one another. Thank you Dean Croucher for emailing your two photos, I was just blown away with the variety in them.

Anemone nemorosa growing wild in Wales, all along the road sides and verges and in the Beech forests, in large sheets they were every where. Anemone nemorosa will thrive in a semi shade to a shaded position. They have long roots that will spread through the leaf mould, and will make a large clump quite easily.

Anemone nemorosa Lady Doneraile

Anemone nemorosa Robinsoniana one of my oldest Anemone from Ken Gillanders Nursery Tasmania and still one of my favourites.

Anemone nemorosa Lychette

Anemone nemorosa Bowles Purple

Anemone ? Blackthorn Nursery UK above, this Anemone was collected on Picos de Europa by Peter Erskine & others, thought to be a cross, this was taken 2011 so it may have been named by now. Below shows the planting combinations that look so beautiful together, of the same plant in Vale Cottage Garden, Peter Erskine UK.

Anemone nemorosa viridescense

Anemone nemorosa Vestal Blackthorne Nursery UK 2011

Anemone nemorosa double pale pink Blackthorn Nursery UK 2011

Anemone narcissiflora Mulleres Valley Spain growing in a moist woodland position.

Anemone hortensis Aaron from seed.

Anemone hortensis from Archibald seed which I seem to have lost in my move, but I have new seed coming up from Craig at Sunnymead ex Phyll Bear. It is a beautiful colour.

Anemone apennina Blue

Anemone apennina white and blue flowers

Anemone Blanda Wisley Gardens UK a large drift.

All the beautiful forms of Anemone blanda found growing in rocky scrub and woodland positions from  the Balklands eastwards to Turkey. 

Anemone blanda Radar.

Anemone blanda. 

Anemone x lipsiensis is the earlier name given to this Anemone but may be called Anemone x seemannii, my all time favourite Anemone a lovely soft creamy lemon flowers, given to me by Otto 22 years ago. This woodland Anemone needs to be kept moist not wet and not dry out during summer months. It is sometimes found in the wild where the parent species Anemone nemorosa and Anemone ranunculoides grow in close proximity to each other, a beautiful hybrid.

Anemone rivularis white flowers flushed with violet on the outside petals, a very vigorous Anemone too large for the rock garden, never the less worth a place in other parts of the garden and it is a tough plant and easy from seed Himalaya and southwestern China. Just remove seed heads after flowering to prevent self sowing.

Anemone fanninii a little known Anemone, but one of the largest, reaching a meter high with very large palmate felted leaves 350mm across and very large fragrant white flowers, with crowded yellow stamens. Only discovered in 1978 by Gibson in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape of South Africa. My photo does not do this plant justice. It does not like to be too dry in Summer

Anemone heldreichii from the late Marcus Harvey. Found growing in Yugoslavia and central Medierranean - France in stony places in Olive groves and abandoned cultivation. I tend to grow this Anemone in a pot as it does better for me, when grown in the garden it gets lost and I can keep it fed properly when grown in a large pot.

 Anemone obtusiloba (Pradesh) Edrom Nursery Scotland 2001

Anemone obtusiloba Ediburgh Botanic Gardens Scotland.

Anemone pavonina Central and eastern Mediterranean in vineyards and cultivated lands, very easy from seed.

Anemone pavonina ex Phyll Bear.

Anemone rupicola rhizomatous and rare in cultivation. This species is from regions of high rainfall, so don't dry out this photo was taken at Wisley 2008. An absolutely gorgeous Anemone with it purple flush on the out side of the petals. Found growing moraines, cliffs and open slopes at 2,700-4,300meters Eastern Afganistan eastwards through the Himalaya to southwestern China. Of course there are many more Anemone not shown here just food for thought.