Tag Archives: nerines

Bloom Day November 2016

Daylight Saving Time and the electoral college. I think we can agree that these are two areas worthy of further study.
May Dreams Gardens collects Bloom Day reports the 15th of every month.
My excuse for posting on the 16th? The DST ate my report. I don’t know how you all manage with these shortened days.

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For November we’ll begin with N, for nerines, truly a miracle bulb. I get it that all bulbs are miraculous, but they are not, unlike my nerines, kill-proof.
But go ahead and forget nerines in a dry bowl all summer long (like I do a lot of other plants, come to think of it).

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In the case of nerines, you will be rewarded, not punished. They require that dry summer dormancy. Think of nerines as bulbs that actually encourage bad behavior.

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Okay, nobody gets excited by the drab composite flowers of a senecio, but I do like how the blooms extend the leaf-stacked lines of the stems. And November is not a bad month for a shot of yellow. (Senecio medley-woodi)

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More November yellow from Tagetes lemmonnii, the Copper Canyon Daisy. What a great common name, right out of a John Ford western. Some plants get stuck with unfortunate names like “lungwort.” Maybe I’m weird (ya think?) but I actually like the smell of the leaves.

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Bocconia is sending forth those frothy bloom panicles. Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea,’ the blue wash in the background, is also budded up with bloom. The acacia just underwent an intervention and had some Tanglefoot smeared around its trunk to stop the ants from massing cottony cushiony scale along its branches. As difficult as it is to imagine winners where climate change is concerned, there will be those who come out victorious, and I’m certain they will be bugs. Each one of those cottony, pillowy encrustations on my acacia holds over 600 eggs.

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I’m loving this tawny, oatsy look the garden has taken on in November. ‘Fairy Tails’ pennisetum in the foreground, oatsy-colored bloom trusses of tetrapanax in the background.

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One clump of melinus, the Ruby Grass, is still sending out rich-colored blooms. The other two clumps have only faded stalks. More oatsy theme.

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Once the grevilleas reach blooming size, look out. It’s just another ‘Moonlight’ mile, as far as continuity of blooms. It really does take on a lunar glow around sunrise.

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Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ backed by the claret tones of ‘Hallelujah’ bilbergia. And since Dustin Gimbel burst into Mr. Cohen’s immortal song when he gave me these pups, that’s the gorgeous earworm I’m stuck with in their company. (I have to admit my earworm is sung by Jeff Buckley, though. I can’t help it — that’s where I heard the song first.)

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I don’t think I’ve given a shout-out to Plectranthus neochilus all summer. Ever stinky of leaf, but a sturdy friend to hummingbirds. The stump of the smoke tree ‘Grace,’ that improbably grew branches as thick and far-flung as a sycamore, still lies underneath. A little more decomposition of the stump, and I can dig it up and plant something more exciting. I know the hummers are going to hate me, though.

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And yet another entry in the category “Every Bloom Counts in November,” the little euphorbia that took containers by storm 5 or 6 years ago, now greeted mostly with yawns. Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is perennial here and doesn’t get into much trouble. Nothing eats it and hot, dry summers don’t faze it.

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Another view of it wrapping around the other side of the containers, with another survivor, a climbing kalanchoe. The euphorbia loves that root run between garden and bricks.

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Berkheya’s feeble attempt at a weak-necked bloom this November highlights why it’s equally appreciated for those great, serrated leaves.

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Aloe “Kujo’ is just about spent, but the red-tipped aloe to the left, cameronii, was discovered to have two buds still tucked in close to the leaves this morning. (Woot!) The other aloe to the right is allegedly elgonica. I’ve searched the blog and find no reference to a bloom yet.

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And the little passiflora ‘Flying V’ is still displaying all those fine qualities, unstoppable, indomitable, etc. this November, on the day after Bloom Day.

clippings 9/30/13

While on the subject of concrete, precast manhole covers, stacked. I prefer to have a day’s worth of concrete projects if I’m going to drag all that mess out.


http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/designs/backyard-patio-transformation/?socsrc=bhgpin050912#page=16 precast concrete manholes, stacked photo 101350652jpgrenditionlargest.jpg

Found at BHG here, but the link loads slow.


I was continually disturbing the dormancy of the little patch of nerines in the gravel garden by digging in what I forgetfully thought was available garden space, so I moved them into pots again. And not long after they’ve rewarded me for all that rough handling with a bloom. These South African bulbs are fast multipliers.

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Mine were gifts from Matt, who blogs at Growing With Plants. He keeps a wonderful greenhouse full of fall- and winter-blooming bulbs.

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And in the offchance your inbox hasn’t been inundated with friends sending you emails of the Fiona Apple/Chipotle/Willy Wonka Pure Imagination mashup, here’s the link to the video. And some words from The New Yorker on why this pretty little video on eating fresh is raising hackles.


On the subject of inboxes, Gmail users, what are we making of the new segregation system of sorting our mail that Gmail imposed this summer? Personally, I never click on the other categories, “social” or “promotions,” but read only mail labeled “primary.” Retailers suspect as much and aren’t happy about it: “Retailers Fight Exile From Gmail In-Boxes.” — The New York Times, September 15, 2013.
I’m still mad about losing Google Reader and have yet to find an effective replacement for keeping track of online reading.

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Knots. I see knots everywhere. Knotwork for enormous pots at Orange County’s The Lab

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And a photo from their website of the pots without their finery

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unsourced image from Pinterest

Did you ever wonder what holds the center of those heavy sailor doorstops? We have. Marty is a whiz at knotwork, but finding a large, heavy orb has been a problem. Bowling balls are too large. Currently we’re experimenting with bocce balls.


Nerines in November

My zone 10, winter wet/summer dry climate makes it possible to grow nerines in the ground, and they start blooming late October/early November. These stems were cut about two days ago. Nerine bulbs are never offered for sale locally but can be had from specialty bulb growers. All of my bulbs were generous gifts a few years back from Matt (Growing With Plants), who grows them superbly in his greenhouse in Massachusetts, alongside an astonishing array of rarities, many of which he grows from seed and/or hydridizes. Matt’s nerines are blooming now, too, and come in a wide variety of colors. My bulbs bloom in this pale pink and a dark orange, which I understand to come from N. sarniensis input. Past photos show a dark pink that hasn’t bloomed yet. I really think growing them in pots, with or without a greenhouse, is the way to go for best display. These South African bulbs loathe wet, cold, heavy winter soil and need a dry patch of sunny ground to thrive. This means that patch of sunny ground will therefore be bare all summer. I can’t abide bare patches of ground in my tiny garden in summer. In fall, slender stalks lengthen. The stunning, shimmering flowers are barely a foot above ground. Mine grow in the front gravel garden, a few feet away from the boundary fence, among aloes and agaves, which gets minimal irrigation all summer. They grow and bloom unseen unless you know to look for them when the days begin to shorten. I think kinder treatment and better soil would improve flowering. That they flower at all in these awful conditions is simply amazing.


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The east-facing window ledge in the bathroom is my favorite spot for cut flowers. The opaque window glass gives a greenhouse-light effect, and the cool temperature lengthens the display much longer than in the main rooms of the house.

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More information on nerines can be found on the Pacific Bulb Society’s site here.
Also informative is this article from The Telegraph by Alun Rees from 2007.
I previously wrote about my nerines here.

When my bulbs thicken up, I will pass along offsets, just as Matt did, a great way to introduce more gardeners to these beautiful bulbs.

flowers for tori

A single nerine stem of congratulations for being the first woman artist whose new album simultaneously listed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s alternative, classical, and rock categories. A listen to the new Night of Hunters can be found at that link.

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Because I find Tori Amos one of those nourishing artists, along with Bjork, PJ Harvey, who on first listen you wonder, Where does this come from, these sounds and words? Always the start of a great relationship between artist and audience. In Tori’s case, for me many of the words never do become very clear, but just enough syllables (and especially long e’s) gleam through to create incantatory songscapes.

Liquid Diamonds is one of my favorites from 1998’s From The Choirgirl Hotel. (I drove my then 15-year-old son and a girlfriend and dropped them off to see Tori at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, part of her tour for this record in 1998. It was his first “date.”)

http://youtu.be/G6_5YYTN7gs

a monday collage

A new week, slightly out of focus. Feed the cats, make the coffee, read Paul Krugman’s column.
Routines are the pitons hammered into the seams of blurry grey rock that is a Monday morning.

A quick check on the garden.

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Passiflora sanguinolenta, sempervivums, Papaver rupifragum, Agave parrasana ‘Fireball,’ nerines, Callirhoe digitata.

Breakfast music, The Clash’s “Charlie Don’t Surf,” because last night’s movie “Moneyball” had posters of Joe Strummer on Billy Beane’s office wall.

A little more coffee, and I just might get a handhold on this Monday.