Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Okay, okay! Enough clamoring! A few more treasures...

I suppose Joe Seals asking me to post a few more pictures doesn't exactly constitute a mandate....but what the hey! A few pictures of plants I was thrilled to obtain on my recent trip to California. The first picture was taken at Annie's Annuals where I seem to have seen it blooming most any time I have visited. This amazing South American has not thus far proved hardy for me, although I keep trying. But well worth growing as an annual. How to pick from Annie's amazing collection (but I have gone on about that nursery before...)

Space and a measure of decency prevent me to reveal the vast sea of pots of Cyrtanthus breviflorus coming into bloom at Suncrest: I last found this in full seed on Oxbow, Lesotho (February 2008) and I have found it blooming in January on the summit of Naude's Nek Pass in the East Cape, both locations above 2400 m. Nevin tells me this blooms all summer long in Watsonville. Needless to say, I brought some back...What a wonderful Amaryllid: and one that has enormous potential across the USA...

Is it variegated or merely missing some trace element? I brought it back to Denver to find out (much to Nevin's relief...he is not a fan of variegation.) So I suppose if we develop a strain of these we'd best not name it for him. It is Glaucium grandiflorum, in case you are interested...but probably not the scarlet form I have been yearning to regrow for decades now...I was impressed to see how widespread Glauciums are in the Bay area: I think they are among the most spectacular garden plants I've helped popularize. A variegated form would be fun indeed...

The picture, alas, does not do justice to this wonderful Sisyrinchium bellum: Suncrest has selected several clones from along the California coast, all with flowers nearly 2" across in a shimmering violet-blue that was eye-blasting. I have never seen blue-eyed grass with such a large flower (excepting the nodding, Olsynium types of course...). I am nervous about whether a coastal plant like this will prove hardy in Denver...check in next year and I'll let you know!


  1. Lovely. Any tips for growing alonsoa from seed, aside from the obvious -- don't buy it from Thompson & Morgan? I've never had the slightest luck germinating alonsoa seed, and it is supposed to be dead easy. Would appreciate input.

  2. How fun! I'm planning a trip to SF this fall, and will, OF COURSE, be stopping at Annies along the way! I just planted a few Sisyrinchium last year and am anxious to see them bloom...would love to have a drift like that someday!

  3. Sorry to take so long to respond, Rand and Scott: too busy with a big Cactus show and sale for three days....I know we have germinated Alonsoa well in the past: I shall seek out the source (I suspect it was Geo seed). I visited Annie's LAST fall, Scott, and it looked every bit as dazzling as it does every other time I have visited (which is in every season...). That is a heck of a crew working there! The very embodiment of team.


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