South African Bulbs for a Harsh Western Aspect in Design Elements

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Warm Bulbs pt. 2-Harsh Western Aspect

Every garden has an aspect that’s hard to plant out because it’s either too shady or too harsh and dry or even spot that receives hot western sun . Today I’m focusing on bulbs that can give you a long display in the warmer months but have evolved to withstand hot and dry months.

Haemanthus coccineus photo M Cannon These bulbs originate where they are not exposed to very cold winters but have evolved to withstand hot dry conditions. The bulbs in this group are in the Amaryllidaceae family which consists of mainly bulbs with long strappy leaves. The flowers are usually in an umbel-like cluster on a short or long scape. Quite a few are known to have large showy flowers. Haemanthus coccineus or 'blood lily likes an exposed location. It will refuse to flowers if in a shady, lush location. Don’t be like me and put the blood lily in too much shelter so the leaves grow long and the flower season trigger is missed.
  • A dead give-away is if the leaves are quite long and extended, then the bulb is in too much shade.
If you live in Adelaide, say a couple of streets back from the beach such as in Brighton, then expect your 'blood lily' to take off like mad. The low humidity and winter rains are a perfect climate for this bulb. You can also look for the interspecific hybrid of Haemanthus albifloss x H. coccineus If you love the shape of tulip flowers, then plant a row of these bulbs which will flower summer to autumn. Brunsvigia greagaria Brunsvigia gregaria which has agapanthus like flower on steroids in a crimson coloured bloom. Or even the combined genus of brunsvigia and amaryllis ending up with Amarygia. Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast with Peter Nixon from Paradisus garden design.

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