|Hi , I hope this day finds you well.
After many cold months of winter, the spring has finally arrived,
Many of the summer growing Amaryllids have responded to the spring
warmth and I should be starting to get blooms any day now.
The winter growers are either flowering or finishing off, with their
leaves turning that familiar yellow, signalling seasons end. The good news
is that now these bulbs are available for you to purchase and add to your
collection. This is not the largest list I have produced but it is filled
with many bulbs of excellent gene quality and diversity. All of the bulbs
offered on this list are seed raided unless stated as an offset. This
ensures genetic diversity amongst your collection and also seed set on
your plants when they bloom.
Babiana vanzyliae in full flight.
Changes to the way I list the bulbs - This list is also marked
in 'years old' this season. Previous lists have been marked 'season',
indicating the age of the bulb. One customer indicated this past year that
this was erroneous and misleading to the home gardener. I assured this
customer that this was the way I was taught to distinguish South
African Amaryllids. Another point raised was the high attrition or
death rate of second 1 year old seedlings. I know it is hard to keep them
alive. I have the philosophy that it is better to pass on what I have
raised for that season. This way, at least some of you can grow and raise
the rarer bulbs in the event that I mine succumb. None the less, to
further simplify this list and assist in these points, I have moved to
naming bulbs by their year. Eg. 1 years old, 2 years old. etc. Storing
small bulbs in sand, in the shade, ensuring the pot says barely moist to
preserve the bulbs.
The brilliant blue of Geissorhiza aspera
Growing South African Bulbs is an easy and fun way to enjoy the
garden during the colder months of the year. If you live in an Apartment
block, these bulbs can provide you with efficient, space saving
beauties to savour when you enjoy the morning cuppa outside. Bulbs
such as Brunsvigia, Haemanthus, Hessea and Strumaria, will provide
excellent late autumn/early winter blooms and interesting foliage during
the cold season. As spring approaches, the leaves on these winter growing
bulbs die off, and the bulbs are dormant during the warmer months of the
Bulbinella latifolia spp. latifolia
This year I have again introduced different bulbs to the garden. Bulbs
other than Amaryllidaceae. These include Babiana, Bulbinella, Daubenya,
and Massonia just to name a few. There are also some odds and sods I
obtained from The Australian Bulb Association. If you haven't seen this
list, get it! It's a must!
www.ausbulbs.org The selection is great and there is no quarantine to
worry about. The growers/collectors/donors are doing an excellent job in
maintaining quality and diversity on their seeds list.
Excerpts from Online Newsletters.
You as a customer of Mainly Amaryllids Garden
(and more about Dash, your bulb packer). And someone said with
an inquiring voice.....Does the list price mean I only get one bulb?
No. Listed on our current and former bulb lists, the
prices for each bulb, where listed as second season (which is a first year
seedling ready to enter its second season of growth) usually includes two
or three bulbs of the listed seedling. This will largely depend on wether
the germination rate has been high and there are extra for your collection
and purchase price. Sometimes there is not and the purchase price will be
for one seedling only. This determination is made at point of digging up
orders, usually around early winter, when most of the foliage has died
back. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but this is the general
overall philosophy that I use. Flowering size bulbs are usually sold as
one bulb. In this way, you will receive extra bulbs with your order, or
you will receive a gift bulb with your order. One of these two thing does
happen when you order. If it does not, get back to me and get me to send
you more bulbs. -----------------------------------------
News this month includes a visit from Cameron
McMaster, owner and manager of Africa Bulbs in South Africa. Cameron came
over to Australia to continue his work in Dohne Sheep Breeding. An
interesting field of endeavour, I was captivated by his stories about the
breeders here in Australia. Cameron remarked that he is continually amazed
at Australians ability to adapt to new ideas and then improve on them!
This particular breed of sheep has not been in Australia that long and we
have already made some significant contributions to Dohne sheep breeding
efforts around the globe. Interesting hey!
new way to receive your latest copy of bulb information update about
bulbs, and strictly for the discerning bulb enthusiast!
'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape' disk is a must for your plant library. It
has 100's of images, detailing the plants, their surroundings and
informative notes that accompany these images. This is an excellent
resource disk. If you are into South African bulbs, you will want this
Cameron is a well respected and noted naturalist and
covers many genus on this disk including Agapanthaceae, Alliaceae,
Amaryllidaceae, Araceae, Asphodelaceae, Brachystelmas, Colchicaceae,
Eriospermaceae, Hyacinthaceae, Hypoxidaceae, Iridaceae and Orchidaceae.
There is also an extensive collection of Landscape images, detailing the
extraordinary habitat in which these bulbs grow.
The disk comes complete, ready to view. The cost is
AU$55.00 this cost includes postage. Please
contact me should
you require more information about this exciting new information resource.
We now have FREE postage with EVERY
order. This month saw the decision of free
postage/shipping being introduced at Mainly Amaryllids Garden. With this
gesture, disseminating rare and endangered bulbous species becomes even
easier for the bulb enthusiast. I hope this entices you to build your
bulb collection further! Please Note, large bulbs sent overseas will incur
a small shipping cost. Contact me for more details.
Site updates. Next month I will be
revising all the bulb prices. All of the prices listed will be reduced.
Years ago, when I first started growing bulb I promised my customers that
when I had more room to grow, bulb prices would come down. This is due to
the ease of growing in such a large area. Having so much room also allows
me to buy larger lots of seeds, thus making it cheaper to provide the
bulbs to the enthusiast.
The following notes are from an extraordinary
disk by Cameron McMaster.
The Flowering Plants Insects and Landscapes of the
Amatola Mountains of Southern Africa. Once again Cameron has gone to
great lengths to capture the incredible flora of this special area on
earth. The work that has been done on this disk will go along way to hep
you discover this amazing place. It is my pleasure to bring you this
wonderful addition to you library. The cost is only $55.00, includes
Here are a few excerpts from the disk. MOUNTAIN OF HEALERS
First Published 1999 in Plantlife No 21, p.16-18 By JC McMaster, PO Box 26
A strange title, you may think, for a publication devoted to
indigenous plants. Yes, it is relevant - I am referring to Mt. Thomas, the
elegant peak in the Amatola mountains which, together with its bigger
companion Mt. Kubusie, towers above that most beautiful of lakes, mecca of
trout anglers, Gubu Dam near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape. It was named
after St. Thomas Aquinas by the first missionaries. It must have had an
older name. It was at a prestigious angling event at Gubu Dam recently
that I was asked "How did Gubu get its name?" I made it my business to
The name Gubu is of course far older than the dam. It is the name of the
crystal clear stream that has its source at the base of Mt. Thomas and the
name of the valley in which the dam was eventually built. Gubu is a Xhosa
name for "drum" - a drum made of skin and beaten by the ancient
Xhosa healers and witchdoctors in pursuance of their magic. Legend has it
that Mt. Thomas was the domain of these healers who used to ascend its
slopes to gather muti to strengthen and protect the warriors of the
tribe. It was a mountain particularly rich in the plants and herbs that
supplied the ingredients for their healing
brews, and for casting their spells. It is said that plants grow there
that occur nowhere else. It was alleged to be a mountain frequented
by lynx, leopard and wild cat, hunted for their magic qualities. These
cats were very crafty, and so it was only the witchdoctors who ventured
there, beating their drums as they communicated with the spirits.
The drum beats would roll down the slopes and echo through the valley, and
so the area became known as GUBU - the place of the drums. The local
folk sometimes refer to the mountain as "Intabeni ugqirha" - mountain of
healers. They still recall that the last witchdoctor to frequent the
mountain died on its slopes about fifty years ago. His name was "Jwara"
and it is said that he was killed by a mythical beast who did not
like humans intruding on the mountain. He may of course have died of
exposure in a snow storm.
The connection that the Mountain of Healers has with Plantlife, is the
richness of its flora. I was awestruck many years ago when I first climbed
its gentle slopes at the amazing profusion and variety of the wild
flowers that occur there. As years went by and I returned regularly,
I grew to know them better, learned their names, and photographed
them. In fact, one summer season many years ago I went up every
month of the year to record every flowering plant on film throughout the
season. It is a small mountain - its slopes can be traversed in a
morning. It is possible to make checklists, and yet impossible,
because each year you return, you find something new.
It was the proteas that first of all impressed me - as one emerges from
the forest on the way up, if it is February, one is greeted by
masses of the tiny Protea simplex in bloom. This is probably the
southernmost range of this common summer rainfall Protea. It is deciduous
by nature, each summer sending up new simple shoots from the woody
rootstock, at the tip a bud will develop and eventually bloom. For over a
century the southern slopes of Mt. Thomas have fallen within the Kubusie
forest reserve, and have been well preserved by the Department of
Forestry. Just across the boundary fence on land that has been grazed by
sheep for a hundred years, not a solitary Protea simplex has survived -
illustrating dramatically how vulnerable are many of our indigenous
flowers to grazing livestock.
Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy your garden.
Best wishes, Dash.