Lily Lion Heart

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Botanical Prints

Books that represent botanical prints often make beautiful coffee table books. Well, 'Spring and Winter Flowering Bulbs of the Cape' is no exception. The botanical artist Barbara Jeppe, now deceased provided the watercolour drawings for this 1989 publication from Oxford University Press, with text by Graham Duncan. I acquired this book (free) at an estate sale earlier this year. What a special find indeed! The print colours, textures, and shapes are remarkable, very true to plants found in habitat.

Barbara, the artist criss-crossed the Western Cape, and Namaqualand seeking specimens for illustration, as well as material in private collections, and those of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, RSA. She was surely a Maven of botanical art in South Africa. Her legacy is being continued by her daughter Leigh Voight.

Below are a mix of her extraordinary drawings.

Daubenya and Androcymbium

Massonia sp.

Lachenalia sp.

Geissorhiza sp.

Ixia and Tritonia

Moraea sp.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Noble Nerines

I love late fall, for it is when the Nerines begin to blossom. The only problem is that the enjoyment of seeing the blooms is somewhat dampened by the chillier, shorter days. Nevertheless, these bulbs from South Africa have found their way into my heart. I must admit that I was never big on Nerines, until I travelled to SA. Well now I'm smitten. Nerine bowdenii is the  hardiest, to -15° Celsius. This fall, found my N. bowdenii to be almost one month behind schedule. We have had a cooler than normal fall accounting for this delay, however on the upside the other Nerine species I have in my collection have lasted quite long, 4 weeks plus due to this cooler weather. There are 23 Nerine species all occuring in Southern Africa. They are all well suited to cultivation in containers.

N. undulata - Summer growing- 30-60cm- spider-like undulating petals. This species is almost evergreen, as it  has a short dormancy.

N. huttoniae- Summer Growing 30-40cm- Cradock, Eastern Cape, SA. Photographed in habitat-The most unusual Nerine, and one of the rarest.

N. bowdenii- Summer growing- 30-70cm

N. humilis - Winter growing 15-45cm- has crisped tepal margins

Sunday, 4 November 2012

November Nuggets

Conophytum meyeri

Bulbophyllum 'Elizabeth Ann Buckleberry' (longissimum x rothschildianum)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Crazy for Cono's

I simply adore Mesembs, and have been collecting them, and growing them from seeds for a few years now. Conophytum in particular is my favourite Genera. Conophytums have such interesting shapes, body colours, and markings. They are utterly fascinating!  I currently grow 16 species. Below is C. cupreatum, almost 2 years old, and raised from seed. Note the transparent bodies with markings that run through the bodies like veins. One could almost see right through them. Most interesting however, is the little pimple ( flower bud) in the foreground just waiting to break the skin. It seems that it has been suspended in time inside the body, and is screaming to get out but can`t quite make it. I am not sure if this bud will mature, as it should have burst through the skin by now. Such a curiosity!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Indian Summer

Well it would appear that our Indian Summer is here. I spent the day raking leaves, and when done promptly dropped on my sofa, and had a siesta. On the property there is a Silver, Red and Norway Maple. They are all well over 100 years old, and take a lot of my energy in the Fall. Ohhhh the constant raking! What a stellar day it was 16 Celcius, and sunny with a light wind. My garden is filled with many different colours, and textures. The Nerine have just started blooming, but are late due to the cooler than normal fall. That will be a separate post.

Hydrangea- Fall colour

Crocus speciosus

Acer sp.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Weeping Golden Toad Lily

Tricyrtis macrantha ssp. macranthopsis is a fabulous plant which has an arching habit, best appreciated cascading over rocks in a woodland garden. It is native to Japan, and loves a moist well-drained humus rich soil in shade. It bears bright yellow pendant blooms close to 2" long with delightful maroon spots within. It blooms September-October when very little else is. It is simply stunning!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Heavenly Haemanthus

H. albiflos my garden

H. albiflos in habitat Somerset East, SA.

H. carneus-Waainek Reserve, SA.

H. montanus- Bedford, SA.

H. humilis- Amatola Mtns.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Autumnal Equinox

Fall is my favourite time of year. I love the fall flowers, the light of the sky, cooler temperatures, and the vibrant hues of the fall leaves changing colour. Below are some harbingers of fall, with a few extras from the garden and greenhouse.

Crocus banaticus

Colchicum sp.

Sternbergia lutea

Gentiana andrewsii

Primula capitata

Briggsia muscicola

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Captivating Cyclamen

Last year I acquired a cold greenhouse, much to my delight.  My friend Barry Parker asked me if I wanted a couple of Cyclamen species and I said 'Why not'. They are C. graecum and C. mirabile. I grew both these Cyclamen in my cool greenhouse for the winter. Well now they are blooming, and are captivating. Cyclamen graecum comes from SE Greece, the Peloponnese. The tuber is quite round, and the foliage and flowers emerge at the same time. The leaves show great variation in their marbling pattern which makes it a highly desirable Cyclamen to grow. The flowers vary from pale to dark pink with three magenta veins at the base of the flower. The flowers of C. mirabile (from Turkey) are much smaller, and charming. This species has just started to bloom. Thank you Barry, for these lovely additions to my greenhouse.

C. graecum

C. mirabile

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Whimsical, Weird and Wonderful Woodland Plants

On Sept. 2nd my friend Vincent and I took a road trip to Lost Horizons Nursery in Acton, ON. This nursery is the epitome of quietude, gentle breezes, trickling water, woodlands, wildlife and plants galore. The stock beds, and display gardens are delightful, not to mention the hoop houses, and grounds where are the sales plants are. We both lost ourselves here for almost 4 hours simply enjoying the sensory overload of images, colours , textures and shapes. It is truly an artists palette.  Naturally, I left my good SLR camera at home so I used my Blackberry to take some pictures, of which the qu\lity isn't as good. This time of year is lovely as many things are in fruit displaying their wares, while others have just begin blooming. The transition that occurs this time of year is remarkable.  A trip to this nursery is a must for the connoisseur. There is always something to see, and more importantly something to buy.

Arisaema serratum berries

Arum italicum berries

Anemonopsis macrophylla

Gentiana sino-ornata 'Kingfisher'

Deinanthe bifida

Actaea dahurica

Actaea dahurica

Actaea 'Misty Blue' berries

Diphylleia cymosa berries

Phytolacca sp. berries

Phytolacca americana 'Silberstein'

Paeonia caucasica Fruit

Paeonia sp. fruit