Mainly Amaryllids Garden

Mainly Amaryllids Garden

Sat Jul 31, 2021 18:29:52

"A conservation garden for Amaryllid species and Hybrids"


Mainly Amaryllids Garden - A Mail Order Conservation Garden.

Welcome to Winter Notes.

Occasionally 4 sale Rare Bulbs and Seeds listed at eBay 

Hi , I hope this day finds you well.

After many cold months of winter, the spring has finally arrived, hooray!!

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.

Babiana species

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

Gladiolus recurvus


Gladiolus alatus

Hesperantha vaginata

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 year.

Babiana framesii

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! 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!

Babiana villosa

Babiana ordorata

Introducing the new way to receive your latest copy of bulb information update about bulbs, and strictly for the discerning bulb enthusiast!

Cameron McMaster's '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 one.

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.

Babiana nana

Ixia pumilio

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 postage).


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 Napier 7270

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 find out.

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.

Gladiolus tristis

Babiana dregei


Tips on Conservation

The Exquisite Griffinia

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USDA HARDINESS ZONES:  For easy reference I have included this simple USDA Zone Chart. This should help you to know what USDA Zone you are in and if you will need to alter conditions to help maintain your bulbs. I am in Zones 9 and 10. This describes what our climate does for the year round. For example, our temperature usually does not go below minus 4 Celsius during the winter, so I grow bulbs that will fit into this USDA Zone. So my bulbs can be described as Zone 9 to Zone 10 grown bulbs.


Zone 6

Ė10 to 0 Fahrenheit,

-23 C to -18 Celsius

Zone 7

0 to 10 F, -18 to -12 C

Zone 8

10 to 20 F, -12 to -7 C

Zone 9

20 to 30 F, -7 to -1 C

Zone 10

30 to 40 F, -1 to 4 C

Zone 11

Above 40 F, Above 4 C



If you decide to grow bulbs out of the described Zone, you will need to make adjustments to the growing conditions in order for them to survive. I hope this helps in some small way to teach a more consistent knowledge of our temperatures here in Oz. Many of the locally produced magazines have different Zones and some of us donít really know where we are and in what climate we are best described as. This small chart is used around the world with good success. It will certainly put you in touch with many other gardeners around the world and in turn help us all communicate a little easier when referencing or relating our conditions to others.


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