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Notes on Bulbs from Jim Shields

BulbAlert is an occasional e-mail newsletter sent to friends and customers of Shields Gardens Ltd. It contains announcements of bulbs or bulb seeds available for sale at the time of issuance. At other times, it contains notes and news about bulbs of general interest to Bulbophiles. The items reproduced here are from the latter group of newsletters.

To request a subscription to BulbAlert, please send your request, with the e-mail address to which your subscription should be sent, to: Shields Gardens Ltd.

Bulb Alert for February 19, 2008

Things on the bulb front have been quite slow this winter, and winter it still is: the low temperature here this morning was +05.7F (or -14.6C).

We hope to get some examples of new hybrids of Lachenalia being developed in South Africa, if the weather ever warms up enough for them to be shipped to us. I don't know the particulars yet, so I'll be eager to see those plants myself. Since their seasons are 6 months out of phase from ours, they will probably bloom shortly after we receive them and then go dormant in early summer. The wild species of Lachenalia that we keep in the greenhouse have been flowering, and L. aloides is currently finishing up.

All of our Nerine bowdenii are in the greenhouse every winter, and all are completely or almost leafless at this time of year. They bloom while still carrying many of the leaves from the previous summer, and then they shed those leaves soon after blooming. Those blooms can be produced any time from September to January, but I think mine usually show up in the greenhouse in December.

We have divided a few of our Nerine bowdenii varieties, so we have a couple offsets of N. bowdenii 'Koen's Hardy' available now. This one is relatively reliable at blooming, with at least half my pots putting up a scape every winter. The flowers are a deep rose pink, but not red.

Nerine bowdenii 'Koen's Hardy' cat. no. 1558 @ $15.00 per small offset; only a few available.

We have some other forms of bowdenii growing, but increase has been very slow, and bloom infrequent. A very nice form is 'Nikita' which has flowers that are a light, uniform pink. We have a few seedlings of a white strain of bowdenii from Cameron and Rhoda McMaster, but not yet large enough to bloom.

A couple years ago, we crossed 'Nikita' X 'Koen's Hardy' and have a few seedlings from that cross growing on. It will probably be years before we see any bloom on these.

We seem to be getting some bloom starting on some of our Clivia plants. Clivia bloom has been sparse here the past several years, as our suppliers have had to learn how to ship their plants to us without having them half frozen in transit, which discourages bloom. This has been a hard lesson for some of them to learn, whether from California or from South Africa.

For our part, we've had to learn how to regulate the big Clivia house, and adjust our watering and fertilizing appropriately. We may finally be getting it almost right. I think it is now just 3 years old.

Accordingly, we will have another March open house one weekend next month. Right now I am looking at the weekend of March 8-9, with Saturday, March 8th for the get together of Midwestern Clivia lovers. The final dates will be announced in Clivia Alert and here.

As noted in previous Bulb Alerts, we have seedlings of several Hippeastrum species growing on. When they get a little larger, we expect to offer the following for sale, as small unbloomed seedlings:

The above should be available in autumn, 2008 (i.e., October and November).

The following are offered already, as offsets from established bulbs:

We are very interested in obtaining fresh seeds of Hippeastrum angustifolium, H. anzaldoi, H. argentinum (=tucumanum), H. iguazuanum, H. intiflorum, H. lapacense, H. leopoldii, H. pardinum, H. parodii. Please contact us if you have some for sale or swap.


The independent international list for bulb enthusiasts around the world. This list is private, non-commercial, and not affiliated with any particular society or group. Its remit is geophytes of the world (plants with bulbs, corms, tubers, or rhizomes). We welcome new subscribers. Bulbs-L is hosted by Surfnet in The Netherlands.

[More information about Bulbs-L]

International Bulb Society


Pacific Bulb Society

The pbs list is a list sponsored by the Pacific Bulb Society that is open to people around the world who are interested in discussing bulb (more broadly geophytes) with a focus on how to grow them and use them in the garden. This list maintains the pbswiki, an interactive website we can all contribute to, where we show pictures of our plants and ones we have seen in the wild and share brief information about the same. We are interested in all bulbs, tender and hardy.

Great Lakes Bulbs List
This group has been replaced by the Bulbs-L list (see above).
Australian Bulb Association
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Last revised on: 30 March 2008