Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring.  One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata.  This little member of the Iris family has a common name of  bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans.  It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night.  For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening.  When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent.  The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above.  When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant.  Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.

Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da!  Clearly a sign of spring.

First daffodil

Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed

Winter Aconite galore

They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.

There are number of Hellebores making their presence known.  More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom.  One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.

Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.

And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.

Hepatica japonica pink

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