By Richard L. Doutt
The Cape Province of South Africa enjoys a Mediterranean weather just like that of a lot of California, however the unique bulbs local to the quarter can, with right care, be grown in harsher & wetter climates. This e-book describes the author's favorites, all of which he has effectively grown in his backyard.
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Extra resources for Cape Bulbs: Their Collection, Cultivation and Conservation
Furthermore, the flower stems are to be cut with scissors to prevent the bulb from being inadvertently plucked from the ground. I accompanied the pickers to a mountain farm set aside by a local man solely for the natural production of wildflowers. They were after the famous Caledon bluebell, Gladiolus bullatus, which occurs as scattered, single plants. I winced at the size of the picked bunch of lovely blue flowers, which I thought excessive, and I was not reassured that the plants would rejuvenate.
The plant may bloom the second season. In the wild, the survival value of cormels is that they are numerous and in the proper site for the bulb's growth. They have little if any role in dispersal of the species, seeds being the major agents of dispersal of the Cape bulbs. In addition to offsets and cormels, toward the end of the season many Cape bulb species form small bulbils in the leaf axils (see Figure 2-3). In the wild, these are freed as the foliage decomposes in the habitat. Under cultivation they can be removed and planted and perform in the same manner as cormels.
Many seeds are overlooked by the satiated beetles, resulting in a large population of post-fire seedlings. Although it may be difficult to generalize about Cape bulbs that thrive naturally in such different situations and habitats, two things are essential to successful culture: good drainage and a dry resting period. The latter, so critical to the winter-growing Cape bulbs, is provided by the veld's hot, rainless summer. Although summer temperatures are high, the bulbs do not need to bake. On the contrary, they are often quite deep in the soil or in rock crevices, where temperatures are much cooler than at the surface, and many grow in the shelter of shrubs that provide at least partial shade and attendant coolness.