I had a big disappointment the other day. I noticed for the first time the three bulbs of Hippeastrum pardinum -- a very exquisite and exceedingly rare amaryllid -- show strong signs of mosaic virus infection in their leaves. I decided to move them into some form of "quarantine" and keep them growing to flower. If I can get them to flower together, I can pollinate them and produce seeds. Most plant viruses are not transmitted through seeds, fortunately.
The first pink flower of a colchicum was poking out of the ground a week ago. Now more of them are up, both Colchicum byzantinum and C. cilicicum purpureus.
Colchicum cilicicum purpureum
One of the Nerine sarniensis hybrids from Nicolas de Rothschild is sending up a flower bud. One of my Nerine bowdenii wellsii is also in bud. I wonder if they would cross? A dwarf Nerine species, name uncertain, is starting to bloom too. This arrived with the name Nerine gibsonii, but I'm doubtful that that is correct. I call it Nerine 'Den's Dwarf'.
Nerine 'Den's Dwarf'
The current issue of "Veld & Flora" vol. 94(3), published by the Botanical Society of South Africa, has a nice article on Haemanthus coccineus. There are also articles on two species of Nerine.
Haemanthus coccineus are starting to bloom, including one seedling barely three years old!
When seedling Haemanthus bloom so quickly, they seem to take the next 2 or 3 years off to recuperate. Most of the seedlings from 2005 show no signs of blooming yet, as one would naturally expect. Anyway, it's nice to see one of the coccineus X barkerae hybrids blooming. That's the fun in hybridizing -- seeing what you get!
The Haemanthus coccineus seedling is [coccineus #879 ex Bredasdorp/Caledon X coccineus #256 ex Richtersveld]. The umbel on this one is broader than that on the barkerae hybrid, and lighter in color.
The Haemanthus [coccineus X barkerae] were also planted in autumn 2005. Just one of these seedlings has bloomed. It seems to have the form of barkerae but the colors of coccineus. Since this is just its first bloom, we will have to wait a few years to see what its mature form is going to be.
Haemanthus [coccineus X barkerae]
The scape is about 5 inches tall and the umbel about ¾ inches wide.
One Haemanthus crispus is in bloom as well. It looks remarkably similar to the flower of [coccineus X barkerae]. The foliage of crispus is narrower than that of barkerae, and the margins are strongly undulate. The scape is obviously much shorter.