Horticultural Gallery.

One works to greater or lesser effect in the garden, sometimes to create a "garden scene," other times perhaps to develop a new plant. In this gallery will be shown some new plants I have developed which have some point of interest—though not necessarily of beauty! (Other components of my collection may be found on my Cactus page.) I include as well some pictures of some plants in my garden not developed by me but which I find attractive or interesting. For what they are worth, then:

The first bloom from my latest Hippeastrum x Sprekelia crop.

This is the first to bloom of about a dozen seedlings from my last Hippeastrum x Sprekelia cross. All of the seedlings show, in their leaves, the very varnished glossiness of Sprekelia; the leaf width varies from seedling to seedling. This first blossom pleases me in showing good hints of the classic Sprekelia form. I also like the white flashes on the petals.

From crosses between these various siblings, I now have approximately six dozen thriving seedlings from two mothers (I performed a mutual cross). All seedlings have narrow glossy foliage which shows very strongly the influence of the Sprekelia ancestor. My hope is that, once the seedlings start to bloom, some interesting variations will become manifest.

• Another Hippeastrum hybrid.

This is the result of a cross between an old nameless scarlet Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) which I call 'Pseudojohnsonii' and—most likely—the variety 'Sumac Pinini' (better known as 'Spotty'). It shows little or nothing of the mother variety, and much affinity with the presumed father. When encountered "in person," it first strikes the observer as being some sort of exotic coral-colored Lily. This was the first to bloom of about a dozen seedlings from the same pod; we can look forward to the first bloom of its various siblings!

• A New Dianthus Cross.

A cross between the yellow Dianthus knappii and the magenta Dianthus carthusianorum yielded a crop of seedlings showing much variation in the flowers, which ranged from near representations of each parent to divergences in flower coloration, flower size, and petal serration. In the picture at left, below, the seedling's flower, which looks very much like one of pure D. knappii at a glance, nevertheless shows the effect of its father with a slight, barely discernible, blush on the petals; its sibling, at right, shows a pronounced blush.

One variation not seen is any gradation in the yellow or the magenta color of the parents. The yellow, however much it appears in the blossom, is always the yellow of the maternal D. knappii, and the magenta, however much it appears in the blossom, is always the shade of magenta found in the paternal D. carthusianorum.

• The Collared Belladonna.

This is a seedling which grew spontaneously from seed from a specimen of the variety 'Johannesburg' of the South African Belladonna, a plant commonly called "Naked Lady." I call it the "collared" Belladonna because, importantly, there develops a band at the base of the leaves which—in contradistinction to the average type—prevents the leaves from flopping all over their neighbors. The plant's leaves and scape are about 30% shorter than those of the average type (while the blossoms are just as large); further, the scape is not only more erect in and of itself, but also—again unlike the common sort with nodding flowers—each blossom, colored a good strong pink, opens vertically or nearly vertically, making a more striking visual effect in the garden. Thus, this Collared Belladonna is neater and much more suitable for garden use in every way in comparison to the common Naked Ladies. I have given this Collared Belladonna the name 'Freya', after the Nordic goddess of Love.

• Tree-Dahlia 'Baldur'.

My new development of 2014, 'Baldur' adds to the range of Tree-Dahlias by having flowers which are bi-colored, the full-sized guard petals being lavender-pink and the smaller inner petals a pure white. Floral form varies from the outer petals being backswept from the inner group, to something more closely approaching the look of the standard garden Dahlia. Occasionally the white portion is reduced to just a white central disk in the blossom. A very playful variety! Habit and bloom-time of 'Baldur' are just like those of the common lavender-pink Tree-Dahlias, except perhaps a little more sturdy.

• A new Amaryllis.

This is a variety I bred from a cross of Hippeastrum 'Donau' and Sprekelia formosissima. It shows almost no trace of the Sprekelia, except perhaps in the slightly more glossy, more yellow-green leaves, which are also slightly more narrow than those of the typical Hippeastrum (Amaryllis). Even discounting the complicity of the Sprekelia, however, I am pleased with the bright and fresh bright rose-pink color, a welcome relief from the legion of scarlets and salmon-oranges found in Amaryllis hybrids. As you can see from the full-length picture below, it has a good, long, graceful stem, further distinguishing it from the stout squat Amaryllises we see too much of. The Fuchsia in the background is the Triphylla hybrid 'Koralle'. Update: Sadly, the one characteristic this plant did acquire from its Sprekelia parent was a great sensitivity to moisture. After a few years of growing happily and producing offsets, one by one all specimens rotted away, even those in the most porous soil mix. Alas!

• A new Bourbon Rose.

This (below) is 'Charles XII', new Bourbon rose I raised from seed of the Bourbon 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' (Moreau-Robert, 1890). It is extremely vigorous, forming long strong canes perfect for training against a fence. The blossoms come both singly and in paucifloral clusters, and have a rich, moderate fragrance. The plant is healthy and strong, and, once mature, is rarely without a blossom; at the height of the season, the plant is truly wreathed in bloom. Several online rose nurseries have it available for purchase. It is named after the ambitious Swedish king who lived 1682-1718. A sibling of it, 'Gustavus Vasa', different in many ways but also attractive, has not yet been propagated.

• The Case of the Anomalous Habranthus.

From a seed of a completely typical Habranthus robustus came this individual with markedly larger flowers with twisted petals. It passes on these characteristics to its seedlings. An interesting development! In the pictures, I include a blossom of a typical Habranthus robustus for comparison. While appearing extremely similar to the cultivar 'Russell Manning', reputedly an interspecific cross, this plant is most certainly not a cross. I suspect that 'Russell Manning', like my anomalous Habranthus, instead represents a spontaneous variation which occurs rarely within the context of the pure species.

Iris 'Amas'.

This old Iris, found to be tetraploid, was collected in Amasia, northern Asia Minor, by Foster in 1885. The foliage is a pleasant glaucous green, which sorts well with the blue and bluish-violet blossoms. The characteristic floppiness of the standards gives the flower a casual, amiable air. To my eye, this Iris shows a strong affinity with Iris pallida dalmatica, which latter is however more lavender, taller, standards more strongly erect, and flowers with a degree of fragrance lacking in 'Amas'.

• 'Cross Your Fingers'.

This unusual plant with the leaves having a double tip in which the twin extremities cross, is a seedling of Amaryllis belladonna 'Johannesburg'. Again, as with the pink Amaryllis above, it is possible that Sprekelia is the pollen parent. The story is that, having emasculated and isolated several blossoms of 'Johannesburg', I pollinated them with Sprekelia pollen. For all but one of the resulting seed pods, the seeds withered at an early stage of development; for the remaining pod, an extremely large number of seeds resulted. Supposing this to mean that the blossom had been contaminated with 'Johannesburg' pollen somehow, in chagrin I tossed the seeds into a remote corner of the garden which was devoted to roses and forgot about them until, a year later, I happened to notice that one of the seedlings which sprouted had leaves with a double tip and a somewhat channeled surface, unlike the mono-tip-ical, smooth leaves of the normal Belladonna. I felt that this was probably only a temporary condition which would disappear over the ensuing dormant period; but I kept an eye on this seedling, as well as on another odd one nearby which had the channeled leaves as well, but without the double tip. The next season, to my surprise and delight, the plant returned manifesting the same anomaly. It has not bloomed yet; but it is a stronger plant than its more normal-looking siblings, the leaves of one or two of which can also be seen in the picture (the fallen petals which may be seen are from the rose 'Ramona', a Lævigata hybrid). Update: 'Cross Your Fingers' went dormant one year, never to return.

• Son of the Archduke.

This fine fellow is a seedling of the popular China Rose 'Archiduc Charles' (Laffay, circa 1825) which I raised a few years ago. The seedling was very strong in its first six months, then lapsed into a lassitude which lasted for about two years. The plant however has now gained some slight vigor and health, though remaining small enough to be covered by a large mixing bowl! The blossoms are variable, though in a different way from the variability of its parent variety, the color ranging from an intense pink through rose-pink, raspberry red, ruby, and deep crimson, depending upon conditions; and I much like the informal form, which is rather like that of the Sasanqua Camellia 'Showa-no-Sakae'. I will not be propagating the plant until it grows large enough to look as if it will sustain the loss of some of its twigs without suffering! Update: The plant refused to bloom further, and I terminated its existence.

• Lycoryllis!

This flower—which looks rather too much like a typical Amaryllis belladonna variety for this hybridist's comfort!—is actually from seed of Lycoris aurea—or what was sold as Lycoris aurea about 1980—following a pollination of the Lycoris with pollen indeed from Amaryllis belladonna. The plant waited some fifteen years before blooming for the first time; shown is its first bud. The plant shows very little of its mother's influence. The scape and subfloral spathulate bracts are tinged purple, as in the Belladonna. The main color is obviously that of the Belladonna. However, the proportions of the scape are more slender than either parent. The exterior of the flower has large brush-marks of snowy white, which show up well in the garden; the inside has as well a large white zone "brushing" a bit farther out on the tepals than is normal for Belladonnas. The very first blossom had only 5 tepals; later blossoms had 6 like both parents. This is no great advance in the field of Horticulture—one could have wished that there had been more of a maternal influence—but it is of a certain amount of interest due to its parentage. It being a mediocrity, and refusing to serve as a parent, I have rendered it extinct.

UPDATE, November 2016: I have been able to repeat this cross successfully, this time with a dwarf Belladonna as the male parent. Numerous seeds have ripened on Lycoris scapes from two separate specimens (one of them the very one which was the female parent on the previous cross). At the same time, I attempted the reciprocal cross, with no seeds resulting on the Belladonnas. It now is clear, the experiment have been repeated successfully, that Lycoris can be successfully fertilized with Amaryllis pollen (though not vice-versa).

• A Variegated-Leafed Hippeastrum.

This Hippeastrum papilio with variegated leaves occurred spontaneously as an offset of a regular H. papilio which I have. Seen here still attached to its mother-plant, it has maintained its variegation for several years now.

• Sweet William.

The patterns found in individual blossoms of Sweet Williams are often fascinating. This individual is from the widely varying crop I grew representing the third generation in my garden of Sweet Williams of the "Summer Sundae" strain, which, unlike many Sweet Williams strains, grows and blooms well here in Southern California.

• The garden is protected against would-be malefactors by the loyal spirit of this earnest and sharp-eyed professional.

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