While we are baking in the sun, elsewhere the earth is warming up slowly. Crocuses and snowdrops are popping up, heralding the coming of spring. Soon, gardens, parks and the countryside will be dominated by daffodils, tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.
I have a few types of bulbs, but none of the temperate ones above. This same time last year, the bud of a tropical bulb pushed its way out of the soil in my little corner of the world.
I’d never seen an orange hippeastrum with curved double petals so when I came across this unusual form, I bought two – one extra for insurance.
The orange petals had a paler base and its form was quite unlike the other hippeastrums I have. While the rest are reminiscent of trumpets, this looked more like a delicately petalled skirt.
But this hippeastrum is tougher than it looks. It is planted right under the scorching sun, and as far as I can tell, it can take a real bashing. While other lilies suffer and get burnt, the hippeastrum takes it all in its stride.
But I’m keeping an eye on the Hippeastrum puniceum all the same. If I remember correctly, it bloomed on the last day of March last year – a day that has come to be a significant one for me. Would it do likewise this year and appear like clockwork just as all spring flowers do?
Care and propagation: Dappled shade to full sun, garden soil, water moderately. Propagate by dividing bulblets, chipping the bulb or by using seeds.