It has been more than two months since I managed to get a Six on Saturday post together, so this is a catch-up post: six plants that have bloomed since S.O.S. #45.
1. Bletilla Yokohama ‘Kate’ (Flowered in late May)
As I previously posted, Bletilla species and hybrids are among the easiest of terrestrial orchids to grow. B. Yokohama is a hybrid of B. striata and B. formosana, and it blooms about a month after B. striata in my garden. The habitat of B. formosana in Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands is subtropical, probably trending towards tropical, but B. Yokohama is fully hardy in my garden during the winter. The new growth is tender, like that of B. striata, and must be protected from late frosts in spring. The flowers have better form than those of B. striata, and the inflorescences are daintier.
2. Gardenia jasminoides (Hardy gardenia; flowered in early to mid June)
This evergreen shrub, with its fantastic fragrance, is a perennial favorite in southern gardens. I have two different single-flowered clones which are efficiently cross-pollinated, presumably by moths, and produce lots of attractive red fruit in autumn. Birds spread the seeds around, and I have started to find volunteer seedlings–a nice bonus that you won’t get if you grow the sterile double-flowered clones.
My plants were badly damaged by cold during the winter of 2017/2018, but they sprouted vigorously from their trimmed stumps, and it is hard now to see where they were cut.
2. Hippeastrum ‘Mead Strain’ (Garden Amaryllis; flowered in early June)
This Hippeastrum hybrid is the product of crosses made by Theodore Mead about 100 years ago. Its background appears to include a large percentage of genes of the Bolivian species Hippeastrum vittatum, and similar hybrids often masquerade as that species in cultivation. Bulbs of the Mead Strain are common heirloom plants in southern gardens, and a very similar clone is passed around by gardeners in my parent’s neighborhood in Texas.
4. Lobelia laxiflora subsp. laxiflora ‘Candy Corn’ (Flowers intermittently all summer)
This Mexican Lobelia species is much more drought tolerant than our native L. cardinalis, so I grow it in a hot,sandy bed beside the driveway. Its bloom season overlaps with that of L. cardinalis (see photo #3 here), and both species are visited by hummingbirds, but I haven’t found any volunteer hybrids yet. I live in hope.
5. Eucomis cf. zambesiaca (Pineapple lily; flowered in July)
All of the Eucomis species and hybrids from southern Africa seem to be hardy in North Carolina, but many of them scorch and wilt in hot sun. They require bright light to grow well, so this heat sensitivity creates a cultural conundrum. This small variety sold as Eucomis autumnalis by the big bulb vendors is the most resistant to wilting of all the Eucomis that I have grown. It looks very little like a true E. autumnalis that I bought from a specialist nursery, and I am fairly sure that it is actually E. zambesiaca, possibly the clone ‘White Dwarf.’
6. Iris domestica (Blackberry lily; Currently flowering)
Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis) is an old garden favorite, but most of the nurseries around here sell the newer all-yellow clones like ‘Hello Yellow.’ I really wanted the old fashioned wild-type orange form, too, and about two years ago I found a few plants growing wild along a power line cut. I collected seed, and the resulting seedlings started flowering this summer, about 18 months after germination.
The Propagator is the host of Six on Saturday. Head over there to see his Six and find links to the blogs of other participants.