Lily Lion Heart

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Marvelous Massonia

Massonia is a genus in the family Hyacinthaceae, named after Francis Masson a Scottish student gardener at Kew who was sent to the Cape in 1772 on a seed-collecting expedition. There are defined by ground-hugging leaves some with mottling, and striping quite unique in various locales. Many are also sweetly-scented. Massonia are pollinated by rodents such as gerbils. They are a genus for the collector . I currently grow M. depressa, hirsuta, pygmaea, pygmaea ssp. kamiesbergensis, echinata,  pustulata, and wittebergensis. There is only 1 true alpine which is M. wittebergensis the only summer growing bulb found at 2500 m in the Drakensberg mountains. Many botanical gardens such as Wisley, and Kew grow them all as alpines in their alpine houses.

Massonia echinata in seed- De Hoop Reserve

Massonia pustulata- De Hoop Reserve- growing in pure sand

Massonia pustulata- with the hallmark pustules ( raised blister-like appendages) on the surface. The foliage has beautiful crimson mottling throughout the leaves.

Massonia depressa- glaucous coloured leaves- Matjiesfontein

Massonia depressa- Nieuwoudtville- with some crimson leaf variation

Massonia depressa- Nieuwoudtville- very heavy red-spotting on the foliage. growing near a waterfall in a very wet environment with Crassula natans.

Massonia citrina- a new species discovered in 2013. It is only found in one locale, the Rooihoogte Pass, Western Cape

Massonia citrina w. Oxalis species

Massonia bifolia- formerly Whiteheadia bifolia- Kamieskroon

Massonia bifolia  with chewed leaves, and a Mesemb in foreground- Kamieskroon

Massonia wittebergensis- Summer growing- growing in basalt- Naudes Nek, Eastern Cape, 2500M.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Sinningia guttata

Sinningia guttata is one of my favourite gesneriads, and a plant I must have in my collection at all times. I grew it years ago successfully, until I lost it. Feeling forlorn, I really didn't have an opportunity to get another one until last year. My dear friend Vincent bought some gesneriads from The Violet Barn in the US, and surprised me with a plant of S. guttata. I was smitten again.  It bloomed but I almost lost it. I changed the soil and cut back part of the stem after minimal flowering to encourage compact growth and hoped for the best. Well, it started growing nicely, and this year has taken off like gangbusters. This is another of the Brazilian beauties as I like to call them. Most Sinningia species come from the Atlantic rainforest, and rocky savannah of Brazil. The flowers are simply marvelous with numerous magenta spots or freckles as I like to call them.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

South African Winter blooming orchids

South Africa has a rich variety of Orchidaceae. In 2013 I spent one month in Namaqualand, and the Western Cape which at that time was late winter in the southern hemisphere. I saw the most fascinating, and unusual looking orchids in my travels. Many of you know that there is a companion post to this one called Orchids of South Africa which I posted August 4, 2013. These orchids were from my first trip to South Africa to the Eastern Cape in January 2012. If you love orchids South Africa is the place to travel to. This September the 21st World Orchid Conference will be held in Johannesburg, S.A. I am not attending, but have some friends who are. Looking forward to seeing their photos, as well as the orchids they see in situ.

Disperis capensis-Boskloof- Klein River Mtns.

Satyrium carneum- De Hoop Reserve growing in sand and stone in full sun.

Disperis villosa- Napier

Disperis circumflexa- Gifberg

Pterygodium schelpe- Nieuwoudtville

Pterygodium hallii- Nieuwoudtville

Satyrium erectum- Naries Namaqua Retreat

Satyrium erectum- Gifberg

Satyrium bicorne- Gifberg

Satyrium pumilum- Gifberg- growing in a very wet site

Satyrium odorum- Jacobsbaai

Disa spathulata - with its unusual labellum - Gifberg


Holothrix aspera- Gifberg

Holothrix secunda- Elands Bay

Corycium orobanchoides- Jacobsbaai

Corycium orobanchoides

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Echinopsis leucomalla

The lemon-drop colour flowers of this lovely cactus blooming in my greenhouse. This cactus is native to Argentina.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Greater Toronto Bulb Society picnic June 29th, 2014

Happy Canada Day! 147 years young as a country. On Sunday the Greater Toronto Bulb Society had its annual picnic at the home of Laura Grant in Niagara-on-the-lake. The day was hot, sunny, and steamy. There were some lovely plants, and garden images to photograph. The first garden below is Sheila Hirsch, who has an eclectic mix of trees, shrubs, clematis, summer-flowering bulbs in beautiful placed and planted pots, spuria Iris, and an unusual pond with an equally unusual cast of characters; both inanimate and living.

Garden of Sheila Hirsch

Whimsical succulent bark boat

Clematis Mrs. Harvey

Digiplexis Illumination Flame- A fairly recent annual introduction and cross between Digitalis and Isoplexsis, a Digitalis relative from the Canary Islands.

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'- highly recommended to grow for the foliage, and the bonus of the pineapple lilies.

whimsical water garden- blend of colours, and textures is marvelous.

Metal frog statues spitting water into the pond. Gorgeous Colocasias flanking the water garden.

Speckled Colocasia 'Mojito'- beautiful ornamental plant. I'm ready for a Mojito!

Wondrous frog statues spitting water which the dragonflies enjoyed taking quick sips from.

Mourning Dove with her young nesting in the statue of an iron owl. What Irony! Pun intended.

Iris spuria- Cinnabar Red- Enough said! Stunning, rich velveteen red. Must get those in the fall. So in love with them.

Iris spuria 'Arbitrator'- unusual striping with two tone yellow-purple. What a lovely colour combo.

Cornus kousa

Japanese Koi in the water garden- The colour of the water is blue to stave off algae with a blue colouring.

Sheila has assigned names to her Koi such as Elizabeth Arden, who is a small Koi ( not pictured her|)with red lips and red around her eye. She was difficult to capture in a photograph.

Feeding- Yum yum.

Laura Grant's garden is also an eclectic mix of interesting trues, shrubs, conifers, a huge water garden, actually a pond , with a large collection of bulbs such as Amaryllis, Watsonia, Brodiaea, Agapanthus, Rhodohypoxsis, all of which she winters outdoors. I cannot winter these in Toronto without protection, but Amaryllis would never survive a Toronto winter outdoors. Truly astonishing really, but they do have a slightly warmer zone at 7. Laura has an impressive collection of Rhododendrons, and water lilies, as well as other water -loving plants. This home is her summer cottage, and was originally a railway station. She has gutted the house from within , and is working on rebuilding it. The gardens occupy one acre roughly. She had numerous birds nesting in a variety of places some in tress, some on the ledge of the house. A splendid day it was.

Garden of Laura Grant

Bog garden containing Drosera, Sarracenia, and Vaccinium sp. which is a cranberry, and sedges. You can see a solitary cranberry on the moss.

Sarracenia purpurea

View of the water garden flanked by stimulating views of climbing scented roses, and various Clematis cultivars. A lovely Musa sp. ( banana in the centre)

Purple water lilies- simply beautiful. The dragonflies abounded flying frenetically on every flower open or otherwise.

Dragonfly on water lily.


Dragonfly on Pontederia cordata- Pickerel Rush a native plant