Narcissus - Oxalis
Plant names highlighted in green have images attached, click to view.
Narcissus bulbocodium £3.75
An anonymous but very nice clone of the classic hoop petticoat, flowering later than most forms of the species. Bright yellow.
Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ £4.50
A little taller, and brighter yellow, but still a real miniature. Flowers extraordinarily early, sometimes from
November, and usually has flowers at Christmas here. More to spare, but still far fewer than we’d like..
Narcissus ‘Elka’ £3.75
A miniature trumpet, white with cream corona. Not so easy to flower, but worth the effort.
Nerine bowdenii ‘Mark Fenwick’ £4.50
An intense magenta-pink, deciduous variety. Just like the familiar Nerines of the trade, but with the volume turned up high.
Nerine bowdenii ‘Pink Surprise’ £5
Large flowers, very pale pink with a darker median stripe. A very good plant, and as hardy as any other bowdenii. Clean looking and distinctive - they’re sold within minutes of opening time at any autumn plant fair.
Nerine ‘Fucine’ £5
A tall, strong, deep pink evergreen variety, hardy here in South Devon. A bowdenii / sarniensis hybrid. It clamours for attention, quite irresistible. I honestly don’t need the more celebrated ‘Zeal Giant’ if I have this.
Nerine ‘Jenny Wren’ £5
A nice prolific hybrid with flowers more red than pink. No particular hardiness credentials.
Nerine ‘Kinn McIntosh’ £5
Hardy, and flowering around Christmas, this pink flowered plant is rather out of the ordinary. An outlandish hybrid, we suppose.
Nerine 'Kola' £5
Looking quite unlike most others in flower, this late flowering sarniensis / undulata hybrid is frilly and intensely pink, with a darker midvein. The tepals are not arranged evenly, leaving a distinctive gap at the bottom of the flower. Needs winter protection.
Nerine ‘Lawlord’ £5
Scarlet sarniensis-type with a rather dark scape and dark green leaves. Very nice.
Nerine ‘Lucinda’ £5
Despite its hybrid origin, the flowers are close to sarniensis, both short, broad tepals, white with a pretty pink stripe and pink filaments to the stamens. Quite an early one, but needs winter protection. Few.
Nerine ‘Purple Prince’ £5
Intense purplish pink, large flowers in September. Summer dormant.
Nerine ‘Rushmere Star’ £5
Vivid purplish pink flowers in autumn. Middling hardy as the hybrids go; impressive and distinct in any collection.
Nerine Mansellii group £5
Flowering reliably in early November, I rate this anonymous sombre dull red clone highly. (Previously listed as a sarniensis, but helpful people have shown us the error of our ways.) Guernsey is the spiritual home of these sarniensis / undulata hybrids, which are considered properly hardy there, unlike sarniensis. A visit last November helped me get my eye in at last for this beautiful and useful group of nerines.
Nerine Smee 275 £5
Purple-pink, usually flowering in October. Winter protection.
Nerine ‘Zeal Giant’ AGM £6
Very tall and large flowered, rather later than ‘Fucine’. Hardy and justly celebrated, but more widely available nowadays than the other Zeals. Only a few to spare here, though. We have something near to a complete collection of the named Zeals, and will be letting them out gradually, as numbers increase (more reasons to SIGN UP for the email lists!.) You need to know that they all have a certain amount of virus, not enough to stunt their growth or affect flowering, but it’s there in all of them, and was there when they left the breeder. If you don’t want any virus at all, you don’t want the Zeals. Most people take what we consider a sensible line by keeping them away from clean varieties, but growing them anyway. But little excites bulb enthusiasts more than attitudes to plant viruses...
Nerine ‘Zeal Grilse’ £5
One of the late Terry Jones’ backcrosses of bowdenii x sarniensis back to bowdenii. The strategy was to combine the hardiness of bowdenii with the colour range of sarniensis. This one is salmon pink, and is proving a rather satisfactory plant all round.
Nerine ‘Zeal Salmon’ £6
From the same stable, a generation further on, with good garden credentials, and salmon pink again. Few.
Nerine ‘Zeal Silver Stripe’ £6
Flowers of good substance, a cheerful reddish pink with a conspicuous pale silvery pink midline to each tepal. Not quite as hardy as bowdenii, but getting close. Few. Rarely offered.
Nothoscordum ostenii £4
Don’t overlook this stunning little bulb just because some other members of the genus (N. gracile for example) are ineradicable weeds. It’s a winter growing South American Allium relative (so think small Ipheion) with copious numbers of small, bright yellow, fragrant flowers at the end of spring, before it dies down. We give it the same treatment as our Western Cape bulbs, in pots with unheated winter protection. Rarely seen, but even John Bryan, after roundly damning the genus, describes it as ‘the only desirable species’ and ‘cherished by collectors’.
Oenothera organensis £5
Large, butter yellow flowers over a long summer season. Handsome, relatively narrow grey-green leaves. A compact bushy plant, to 75cm but often much less. Day flowering, and quite out of the ordinary. You wouldn’t predict that a plant endemic to the arid Organ Mountains of New Mexico, overlooking the famous gypsum desert, White Sands, would behave as a straightforward herbaceous perennial in England. But it does.
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Little Tabby’ £4
Like the black thing, but heavily striped lengthwise in dark green and cream. Easy, and much in demand.
It’s not easy for Oxalis to shake off its hard-earned ‘Weeds R Us’ reputation There are plenty of species which deserve it, but many others which really don’t. Here are three which fit our ‘desirable, safe, non-seeding’ criteria, although we’ve now allowed a couple of Chilean summer growing species which self-seed mildly into our collection, on probation and at a distance. All these are short South African winter growers, hardy in a pot of gritty compost in our unheated polytunnel even through harsh winters, dried off completely as they die down to tubers in early summer.
Oxalis flava £3.75
This one has really large lemon yellow flowers over narrow-lobed palmate leaves. Stunning in flower, at its peak in late September and early October.
The warm terracotta, yellow-eyed flowers are not individually large, but on an established clump almost cover the plant for several weeks in early autumn. It’s a colour that works perfectly in the less harsh quality of sunlight at that time of year. The narrow linear leaves are spirally arranged. Just superb.
Oxalis namaquana £3.75
Large bright yellow flowers late in autumn. The leaves are unusual and attractive, having long, narrowly ovate leaflets.
Oxalis obtusa brick orange £3.75
More typical three-lobed Oxalis leaves, flowers less intensely coloured than the massoniana, fewer but larger. Leaves and flowers are on top of an unbranched 10cm stem. Just one example of a truly-madly-deeply variable species.
Oxalis obtusa Namaqualand large flowered form £3.75
Good sized lilac-pink flowers on 5-10cm pedicels, well above the low carpet of trifoliate leaves. Autumn.
Oxalis zeekoevleyensis £3.75
Rich lilac-pink, yellow tubed flowers stud a cushion of dark green trifoliate leaves. Late autumn flowering. It’s the plant that Northern Hemisphere bulb nuts know under this name; no one knows for sure if it’s correctly identified, but it’s a lovely name, and invaluable if one wants to boast of an ‘adenodes to zeekoevleyensis’ collection.
For all those interested in South African plants we've also put all our listings of South African
bulbs and plants onto one website we've called South African Bulbs at Desirable Plants.
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