Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pretty Bulb or "Noxious Weed"?

How are you all doing amidst this pandemic quarantine of Coronoavirus? I hope you're all taking care to stay well, and making the most out of your time by gardening or whatever makes you happy! Let's hope this ends soon.  

About 20 years ago I first saw this peachy salmon flowering bulb called Homeria at one of my jobs in Glendora.  I have never seen them for sale in a nursery nor have I seen them in any other garden(friends or clients).  I love orange flowers and my client invited me to dig some up for my own garden.  I did and when I we moved to our own first house I planted them in the ground.   

Homeria collina in my garden.

The name Homeria comes from the Greek homero, “I meet together”, is about the filaments (stalks of the stamen) being united into a tube in the flowerHomeria collina has now been changed to Moraea collina.  YOU KNOW that I hate it when they change names.  I will still call these bulbs or corms Homeria! There is a whole other rabbit hole about what are bulbs, corms, tubers. Here I'm just going to call them "bulbs".  They are in the Iridaceae(Iris) family and of course come from South Africa! Research says that this beautiful bulb that I love is considered a "noxious weed" and is a toxic threat to humans and wildlife! Some people I know might enjoy that. Read about what it is to be a noxious weed here Noxious weed.   I just grow them for the pretty flowers in my home garden and I don't eat them or have animals who might.  Those who are afraid to grow poisonous plants might want to look into what is already growing in their yard, Oleander, Azaleas, Foxglove, Narcissus, Carolina Jessamine are just a few.    These bulbs reseed themselves.  That's the invasive part of "noxious". But they are easy to yank if they infringe on their neighbor be it another plant or path. 

Like many Spring growing bulbs, Homeria sprout in the late Autumn and bloom in Spring.  They die back when the weather gets hot and lay dormant all summer.  Mine are blooming today(early Spring).  They are said to grow up to 2'.  But mine grow to 3'.  I measured the tallest one this morning and it was 41"! So, this is not a border plant.  Mine are planted in the middle of beds between roses and other shrubs.  The flowers stand tall but the leaves are even longer and tend to bend down or sideways.  The garden where I got these had them planted next to a path and I would often trip over the leaves.  

Moraea collina

A couple years ago my friend Tom gave me some yellow bulbs.  He  of course called them Moraea because he's a good bulb grower.  I was surprised when they came up and looked just like Homeria but in yellow.  They are one in the same.  So, I just have the yellow growing in one clump in our backyard.  Maybe after they're done blooming I may divide them and put some in the front yard too.  Ooh, it might be pretty to mix them together to then have a yellow and orange combo clump! 

Bees like them too.
Tell us what you're growing? I love to read your comments here.  Thanks for reading.  

 Happy Gardening!

Sunday, March 8, 2020


I love Freesias.  They are one of the first signs of Spring in my garden arriving in late winter and are fragrant.       Being a bulb they disappear in hot weather(about June here) and foliage comes back up in winter.  You can't keep them down.  I once had some bulbs in a pot and transplanted them somewhere else so I could put a Pelargonium in that pot.  I thought I got all the bulbs out.  I did not. Freesias came up the next year and even flowered squished next to the Pelargonium.  


Freesia is a bulb native to Eastern South Africa.   They are named for German botanist and medical practitioner, Friedrich Freese in 1866 and are inexpensive and easy to grow.  Spring blooming bulbs come to the nurseries for planting in Fall.  Buy them any time between September and as late as January.  I hate paying full price and water more Freesias so this year I hunted for late sales. I did find some half price in early January this year.  

They're said to be great cut flowers. But I don't usually cut them because I enjoy the bright color in the garden.  You can tuck Freesia bulbs just about anywhere in the ground or in pots.  Sometimes the foliage makes the plant want to flop.  I find planting them next to other plants helps hold them up. 

There are many named color varieties and some species.  There are singles and doubles  Although a couple years ago I bought some that were said to be doubles(that would be a trumpet inside a trumpet or hose in hose as sometimes said) that came up as mostly singles.  I have red, white, yellow and purple.  I think there's orange out there but I've yet to find it.  Color order first to bloom for me is white then yellow, purple then red last. 


Try Freesias in your garden. I'm sure you'll like them. 

Happy Gardening!