Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Not a piece of choral music by Bach. A plant.
Planted this spring from strange, long rhizomes, and blooming now for the last week. Hailing from southern Africa, and lethally toxic, should you wish to chomp on that long, fleshy, underground stem. I have seen them scrambling wild on the southern, summer rainfall coasts of South Africa. Lyn McCallum had a beauty in her Cape Town garden, growing from a pot, and dripping with flowers, which I saw in January. So I looked for them, Stateside, and found them at Brent and Becky's. Five arrived, one was rotten, four were planted.
The flowers opened a disappointingly insipid non-colour, then gradually darkened, to my surprise. They are long lasting. The leaves have hooks at the end that are fiercely strong, once they sense the presence of a supporting branch or surface. You have to break them to get them free.
To my complete disgust I managed to break the stem tip off one of the four plants I have, so that I lost all the flowers. I planted it in a pot at the base of the New Dawn, hoping that it would scramble up the rose canes and make them look less...cane-y. Twit. But there are three left.
As to hardiness. Reputedly hardy in USDA Zone 7 if very protected, but generally hardy from Zones 8-10.