Saturday, 2 March 2019

Next Meeting: March 27th 2019 – European Rock and Crevice Gardens

Come and join us at our next meeting when we will be discussing European Rock and Crevice Gardens - from a member who has attended several such meetings in Prague and toured gardens.

Whitehorse Horticultural Centre
82 Jolimont Road
Vermont, Victoria
Show Bench 7:30 pm & Meeting starts 8pm

Sichuan High Altitude Bulbs

Our member Geoff recently went on a plant hunter tour in the Sichuan mountains.  It is very difficult to grow all the pictured bulbs in Australia as they are more suited to cold and damp conditions.

Lilium regale: This well-known and easy to grow lilium was found by plant hunter Ernest Wilson in the Min River Valley, where it still grows on very steep mountainsides in its thousands. Many clones have distinct purple streaks on the backs of the petals. It was awarded a RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Iris bulleyana: This iris may also be found in Tibet and Myanmar. It has thick, creeping rhizomes, and the flowers range in colour from blue, violet, purple, and white (uncommon). Plants grow in moist areas on hill and mountain-sides, and in sub-alpine and alpine meadows. It was named for Arthur Bulley, a wealthy trader from Liverpool, who funded a number of plant hunters.
Cypripedium tibeticum: This striking slipper orchid grows at high altitudes, to 4,200 metres, and can be found either at forest margins or in more open areas. Sometimes plants are just dotted about, or they may grow in colonies of various sizes. The plant photographed was on an open mountain-side, above the tree line.
Cardiocrinum giganteum (Giant Himalayan Lily): Apart from western China, also found in Yunnan, Bhutan and Sikkim. When seen in Sichuan, plants – which can grow to 3.5 metres - were growing among and supported by shrubby plants. This cardiocrinum has been grown in England and elsewhere for over 100 years.
Fritillaria unibracteata: This rather delicate little plant grows to 20cm, and grows in western China at altitudes to 4,000 metres. It is a valuable and traditional Chinese medicinal plant, and because of this fact has become rare and endangered in the wild. In cultivation it needs a cool climate and damp, humus rich soil.
Lilium davidii: This plant is also found in the mountain areas of India and Bhutan. It is a stem-rooting lilium, easy to cultivate, and may grow to 1.5 metres. The bulb is edible, and is eaten in China. Lilium davidii was named for Armand David, a French missionary and naturalist. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Sunday, 26 August 2018

September Meeting

The Society September meeting has been cancelled as the Council will be renovating the Horticultural Centre.

In its place we will have a members garden visit.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Next Meeting: Wed 22nd August – Bulbs of South America

Our next meeting will be on the Bulbs of South America.  You are very welcome to come along and join us.

The Wild Tulips in Iran

The wild tulips in Iran: seeing how they would be kept cold and relatively dry under a blanket of winter snow explains how even modern hybrid tulips benefit from time in the crisper or a refrigerator before fairly late planting.  Although we tend to plant bulb seed in autumn, for those bulbs which are covered by snow it seems very unlikely that in the wild they would germinate in autumn only to be cut down very soon afterwards.  If in doubt, it may pay to plant half one’s seed in autumn, and keep the other half in the crisper, and then sow in late winter. I was able to get some narcissus seed to germinate following the latter process. 

I may also order some puschkinia seed and put them in the crisper before sowing.  In Iran, the puschkinia was flowering just below the snow melt. There may well be other bulbs that would do better with a spell in the crisper: one would need to check their origins on the internet before experimenting.  Also, I suspect that many of the bulbs in Iran would be relatively deep in the soil, to protect them from overheating during the long, hot summer. It may pay to experiment with depth of planting to see if any difference emerges. 


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Next Meeting - 25th July 2018

Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 25th July. Topics as follows:

Iran – Flora and Bulbs in the Wilds

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Next Meeting - 27th June 2018 - Massonias and Daubenyas

Come join us at out next meeting on 27th June....when the topic will be Massonias and Daubenyas.

Growing Cyclamen

Seedlings growing in polystyrene pots can be left a few years until they are large...

 Seedlings growing in a pot around the main plant...

Cyclamen come with many leaf variations...

And some of our members specimens in pots...

Friday, 4 May 2018

Monday, 9 April 2018

Next Meeting - Wed 25th April - Mini Daffodil Challenge

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 25th April and the topic is "Mini Daffodil Challenge"....please feel free to come and join us.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Haemanthus Blog

Early Autumn in Victoria is the time that most growers of this genus of 22 species of bulbs from southern Africa, including South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia, associate with.  The majority of the species are summer dormant and seem to respond to seasonal changes such as late summer storms, cooler nights and perhaps shorter daylight hours by sending up their unique candle like spikes of flowers encased in a usually wax like cluster of red spathal bracts, resembling a paint brush, hence one of the common names of Paint Brush Lily.  Flowers are soon followed by usually fleshy large leaves which remain until dormancy again commences in late spring.  This description typifies the form and habit of perhaps the most commonly grown species and certainly the one with the widest distribution in the wild, Haemanthus coccineus.  There are numerous forms of Haemanthus coccineus grown, most of them differentiated and identified by the collection locality eg Napier form, Knersvlakte form, Colchester form, etc.  There are also some interesting colour variations of the forms we grow in our gardens.

Haemanthus Humilis, Lanceifolius, Montanus & Barkerae

Haemanthus humilis King William Town Dwarf  
Haemanthus humilis King William Town Dwarf
Haemanthus humilis Quanti form showing the large but squat leaves

Haemanthus humilis Quanti form showing the large but squat leaves
Haemanthus Lanceifolius

Haemanthus Montanus

Haemanthus Montanus

Haemanthus barkerae

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus showing various aspects of the plant: hirsute = hairy!

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus humilis ssp hirsutus

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus