Many bulbs that are popular in the United States are actually native to southern Africa. The region, especially the country of South Africa, is a hot spot for seekers of native wildflowers.
Scott Canning, director of horticulture at the public garden Wave Hill in the Bronx, recently visited the country. "I'm always obsessed by plants whenever and wherever I go, and the place that most dazzled me was South Africa," he says.
Wave Hill features numerous native South African plants. Scott shared a few of the most striking examples on "The Martha Stewart Show."
Plants Featured on the Show
- Clivia: This is the consummate houseplant, available in a rainbow of pastel colors with evergreen foliage.
- Pelargonium: Also known as "Martha Washington" geraniums, pelargoniums are known for great colors in late winter and early spring.
- Watsonia: This is a late-blooming South African bulb with tubular flowers.
- Tritonia: Tritonia blooms in late winter, with color forms in orange, peach, and pink.
- Ornithogalum: Available in both hot and cool creamy colors, these beauties are showing up more and more at flower markets and nurseries.
- Cyrtanthus: This is a hybrid developed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the 1960s; it's mostly evergreen and very fragrant.
- Tecophila: This bulb is actually from Chile, but it's now extinct in the wild. It's an illustration of how growing bulbs from seed is often necessary to raise rare plants.
Wave Hill only buys bulbs and seeds from high-quality, environmentally responsible vendors. Here are some of the garden's trusted sources: