Bowiea volubilis

It is called Climbing Onion. Volubilis means: whirling, changing, rolling, flowing. The Bowiea name of the genus maybe comes from the name of somebody. I know of a James Bowie in Texas in the 19th century but I don't know if he has something common with the name of this plant.

It is a bulbous perennial (in fact it is not a real bulb, I think). It is native to South-Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania. Therefore it is not hardy here in Hungary, it must be wintered at about 10°C. It belongs to the family Hyacinthaceae – well, I could never guess this.

The flowers are very little and green, maybe it could be nice with plenty of them. Our plant has not too much flowers yet. I've read that after seed ripening the greenery (not quite foliage) will die. The lady I bought it from told me that it begins to grow again in Spring. On the net I've read that this happens in the Autumn. OK, Autumn in South-Africa is Spring in Hungary... It likes much water in Summer but the bulb is also prone to wet rot so it should be buried only 2/3 in the compost. The bulb hates hot and sun, but the plant itself likes it. So I covered the upper 1/3 part of the bulb with grit. During the resting period the compost has to be left dry.
It can grow very large, the bulb can reach 25 cm diameter, the plant 2,5 m height. As seen above it has no real leaves, is assimilating with the green stems and fringes and climbs vigorously on what it finds.
Not that it is a beauty, just interesting maybe. I bought it in fact because I wanted to let something to climb on the trunk of a dead Fuchsia.


Seeds and Seed Pods-4

This time no seed pods, only withered flowers, but it was so interesting I thought I should post it here.

I've already wrote about this nice bluebell in a post in June.

Campanula raddeana 

It is characteristic to bluebells (Campanula) that the pollen is ripe already when the flower is not yet open. This partly prevents self pollination because the stigma becomes receptive only after the opening of the flower. As the sticky style is elongating and pushing itself through the other parts of the flower, it collects pollen grains:

In case of Campanula raddeana the stamens interestingly curl back after the anthers had released the pollen.
Later the stigma splits to three parts and from now on it is ready to welcome the pollen. If there is still some fertile pollen grain around.
On the following picture you can se  the split stigma, but don't be deceived! It splits when the flower is still fresh, this picture was taken a little too late.

Self pollination in general is not common to bluebells, but sometimes happens. I don't know what about this species but I think it is not self fertile. There were many flowers in June but no seeds at all. According to botanists there are many insects visiting bluebells but their pollination capacity is not the same.

Now it is flowering again, though not so abundantly as in June.

Here you can se better the curled stamens and the stigma and style with pollen. To show this, I had to pull off the wilted, papery petals – it was not easy.

It would be nice to collect some seeds from this pretty Campanula, but I don't think I will have the opportunity...

Source – except of my observations confirmed on my pictures –: Graham Nicholls Dwarf Campanulas (Timber Press, 2006), and some abstracts of scientific papers found on the net.


Cyclamen purpurascens Encore

I showed it in an earlier post, but I must show it again because it is simply beautiful. And one can not see on the picture that there are countless buds below the leaves.

The End of the Dog Days

And as usual in Hungary, the temperature has made a power dive from 36 until 16°C.


Habranthus robustus

It is a bulbous plant of Amaryllidaceae family, native to Argentina and Brazil, not hardy at our climate. I keep it in pots and take it to the cellar before the first frosts. There it waits for spring, in the compost, normally without water, but sometimes our overzealous neighbour waters it. Due to this superfluous watering it has green shots all winter and I have to repot it already in January. I think it also affects the flowering which is not so good as I would expect. The repotting was shown in an earlier post.

It usually begins to flower in June and continues until August. But the peak of blooming is at the beginning, when we usually are somewhere in the Alps on holiday, so I can see only the remnants of late beauty.
Well, there are still some flowers...

It has long, ribbon-like leaves and 7 cm flowers which have a vivid magenta color after opening, but this dims a little on next days. One bulb produces many flowers one after the other. The flower stem is rather long (too long for me). I always remove the dead flowers, so I don't know if it could set seeds.

I mix a ready made compost with 1/3 part perlite for planting. During summer I give it a fertilizer used for flowering pot plants. It produces many bulbils every year, these can reach flowering size in two years. In summer I don't let the compost to dry out but certainly take care to avoid stagnant water.
I have seen window box planted with it. I usually put many bulbs together to have many flowers, but this means I have to give more fertilizer.


Citrus Flatid Planthopper (Metcalfa pruinosa)

I see (and hear) that it is a quite consistent guest in gardens these days. I found its larvae on a Ranunculus alpestris in one of our miniature rock gardens. Later on we realized that all the house's garden was full of jumping larvae, flying parents and disgusting wad-like larvae skins. They have made no damages on our plants as yet, but are rather obnoxious.

You can see here the pictures and description of our friend about this pest, coming from another part of the world.


Seeds and Seed Pods-3

Cyclamen persicum

Cyclamen persicum cultivars can be bought en masse in flower shops and nurseries.
These species' seed pod carrying stems are not curving, like others, only just bending a little. The seeds can be put even this way on the ground, to the delight of the ants.
Here the seeds are not yet ripen, but the stem is already bending:

Cyclamen purpurascens

 It is native also to Hungary, but I've never seen it in the wild as yet. I have seen it in Croatia near the Plitvice Lakes in the woods, where there were beautiful clumps with rich flower buckets in early September.

I swapped the tubers with a gardener from Linz, Austria. He has many in his garden, and sent me 8 large tubers and 6 seedlings  by mail, packed carefully in moss and a perforated plastic bag. All are alive and feeling well. I gave some to my friends, these are also thriving.
Two weeks ago I told it did not flower too well this year. Now I see that this was wrong, it was just a little later compared to last year's flowering. Now there are many flowers and their colors are much better than a year ago. And also the seedlings are flowering already! At nights their scent fulfill the balcony.

I cultivate the large tubers in a 20 cm crock pot. I made a humous-gritty-sandy compost for them and this is covered with a 2 cm layer of dolomite grit. I water it only once a week in summer, but I give then a copious amount of water. They are very hardy also in pot, but I have to be careful the compost not to be too wet then. I used to pack the pot in paper or plunge it in pine needle or dry peat to the rim. Sometimes the leaves were frozen, but they recovered and flowered well every summer. The seedlings spent the winters in the frost free staircase until now.
They are put in shade during hot summer days, but this spring I thought I would let them to get sunshine until the trees leaf. They live in deciduous woods where they are shined below the bare trees in early spring.

I have many seeds every year, but I give it to seed exchanges, until now I've never tried to sow them.

The Grasshopper and the Bucket with Rainwater

Poor thing... Dropped in and stuck on.


Primula sp. (sieboldii?)

I've got this plant with the name "maybe Primula sieboldii". I also think that "maybe".
It is rather different than the far east originated species, but I know that in Western-Europe there are about 25 P. sieboldii cultivars. It has come to us a few years ago in April, just in bloom, but it never flowered after that. And now, in middle July...

Here is the whole plant in one of my troughs:

Draba imbricata

Some months ago I made a test. I pulled the yellow leaf rosettes from the cushion.
Well, the yellowing has stopped, the plant recovered and now is looking as I would expect. I hope for flowers next spring (it never had until now). I gave to it liquid feed with K 3 times after flowering time. We will see...

Seeds and Seed Pods-2

Androsace pubescens

The seed pod is approx. 5 x 2 mm, the picture is not too good.
I've got the seed in January 2009, but I did not sow it, I put it in moist vermiculite in the fridge for 5 weeks. I have sown it at the beginning of March, germinated after 5 weeks, and after a year already flowered.

Dryas octopetala

These are the seed pods of a late flower.
It is true that I have not tried too much, but until now Dryas seeds have not germinated at all for me.


Seeds and Seed Pods-1

It is time of seeds and seed pods. I will show some just ripening seed pods and also seeds – alas not all from our plants – and tell my experiences with seed sowing of some of those plants.

The seed pods are put here in the sequence of ripening.

  Hepatica nobilis

The "seed" which is in fact a seed pod must be sown right after ripening and will germinate next spring. In the first year there are only cotyledons which can look quite ugly during their first winter. Then in the second spring come out the thrue leaves. 

I sowed Hepatica nobilis ssp. americana seeds in August. The seeds came from Canada, from Kristl Walek and were stored in moist vermiculite. I sprinkled all the content of the little bag on the surface of the compost and put some grit on it. After 6 months (next february) the seeds germinated like mad.

 picture: 28th April

  Primula rosea

It has rather large seeds as compared to some other Primula species. I've not tried to sow yet.

 picture: 7th May

  Cyclamen coum

The seeds ripen at me in middle June. Las year I sowed the seeds in October and began to germinate after 7 weeks.

Before storing I used to wash the seeds to get rid of that soggy substance which is good only for ants.

picture: 1st June

  Aquilegia coerulea

The seeds sown in January germinated in spring. The seed pod and the stem is covered with sticky glandular hairs, so it is uneasy to handle.

picture: 15th June

  Nectaroscordum siculum

A nice but bad smelling onion. I never tried to sow its seeds. The Picture was made in the Buda Arboretum of the Corvinus Horticultural University of Budapest.

picture: 9th July

  Asarina procumbens

It flowers and sets plenty of seed all summer and also sows itself like a weed. But survives winter only protected from moisture. The seed pod is sticky.

picture: 17th July

  Dodecatheon sp. (a hybrid)

I sowed the seeds in middle October and in april (after 5.5 months) germinated very well.

picture: 21st July

 picture: 23rd July

  Lilium martagon

I collected some half ripened seed pods with stem in the Alps in September. The seeds have been ripened on a sunny windowsill, the stems put in water. Sown on 25th January, on the surface of the compost, covered with an 1 cm layer of grit, and kept on about 16°C,  germinated after 5 weeks.
This picture is not of the plant whose seeds were collected. This was made on the Rax, near Wien in October:

 picture: 14th October

And finally:

  Rhodothamnus chamaecistus

I made this picture this June in the Dolomites. These are last year's seed pods:

Here is the flower from close:


Home Again

After two weeks of alpine wanderings, home again. We've seen lovely South-Tirolean houses full of flowers, "tüchtig" kitchen gardens, and naturally a lot of well known and also some new alpine plants on the brink of snowfields and glaciers. But foregoing this, we visited the Rosarium of Baden bei Wien which was also an unforgettable experience. Although this blog refers to our "garden", I think I will tell and show more about these places when I will be ready with picture selection.

During these weeks our plants were watered by a kind relative of us, who was keeping to my instructions put on every single plant!

It's funny that the alpines seemed to tolerate better the absence of the "baas" then the others.
The Petunia has become leggy and with very few flowers. After a lot of cosmetics is still does not look too well. Well, I tried Petunia the first time this year :)

Neither the Nemesia did fulfill my expectations. Yes, it lives and blooms, but I hoped for a larger clump filled with flowers by midsummer...

Regarding the perennials, the sempervivums are now on the top:

Looking from close, the flowers are really like some jewels:

Habranthus robustus is also flowering, but not too intensive...

Cyclamen purpurascens is just beginning. The florist's Cyclamen persicum, instead of summer dormancy, is in full bloom. Maybe because of the cold at early summer. I must repot it in full flower...

Campanula portenschlagiana and C. raddeana still have some flowers and buds, though not too much.
And Daphne sericea, shown already in April, has all the time some flowers: