Osmocote Advertisement

A Bulb Like No Other


A few days ago it was cool enough to go outside and see the red needles calling me. It was my fully open haemanthus, a rarely grown South African bulb whose salmon red stamens form a round ball up to 10 inches across.

From my earliest greenhouse experiments, I never could get it right. First of all, it was called Haemanthus ‘Katherinae’. (I don’t know who she is.) By the time I researched that elusive woman, her name had been changed to Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. katherinae. I hope she likes her new inlaws. She rotted on me. Some thanks I got for slavishly taking care of her.

I eventually bought a new bulb, small and inexpensive, probably an offset. This Katherinae is like Paris Hilton, expensive and showy, but is the depth there? She went into a 6-inch pot with container potting soil, and out came a small flower that spent the summer on the wall around my patio. That winter Katherinae stayed in the pot, sheltered in a big box of other bulbs for company. She survived and flowered. Helped by loving care, she put out an offset.

Photos By Nancy Kekst

Now I save the bulb in the same pot and wait for really hot summer days until a shiny, dark bud shows. The round flower zooms out, and lastly the foliage appears.

She is really hot stuff!

categories

Midwest Groundcovers Advertisement

Espoma Advertisement

popular

Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - Jul/Aug 2014

Gardeners are a fickle lot. Either we’re rhapsodizing gooey-eyed about the resplendent, transcendent wonder of whatever ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Naming Rights

News alert! I have been known to be obsessed with weather, and weather reporting. Why is everybody laughing? Stop that.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
The Dirt on … Oh Never Mind

By the time you get to this page (that is to say, if you’ve read all or most of this magazine), your brain is so crammed with …


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - JanFeb 2016

This is the time when the world waxes eloquent (or some semblance thereof) about “new beginnings.” Really? Is there such a thing


Article Thumbnail
Columns
A Letter From the Garden Abyss

I am writing to reach out to humanity, if there is anyone left as of May 1. If you find this note, please take it to the ...


questions

With all the emphasis on growing fresh vegetables, I think I should use a cold frame but I am not sure what to do or how to go about it. Any ideas?

I am interested in growing fruit trees in my suburban DuPage County yard. Can sweet cherries be grown here? Can you suggest varieties of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums that are hardy and disease resistant?

The foliage on our cucumber plants is starting to wither and turn yellow. They get plenty of water and I feed them regularly. What could be wrong?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement