Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pink Kaffir Lily, a form of River Lily from southern Africa is, unsurprisingly this year, growing well and flowering for long periods. After 2 relatively wet summers – thank you La Nina - it is heartily self-sowing (and thrusting up 60cm-high flowering stalks with a gleeful wave) so it is just too happy, popping up where not wanted (a fine trait in others) and requiring large amounts of precious soil to be removed with the roots – deeper than you’d expect - which generally are left behind when the weeding is too superficial. Foliage, too, is usually rather yellow which is quite unforgivable – especially in the small garden where it can’t be hidden behind other, slightly lower plants.
Also known as Crimson Flag, the bright red Kaffir Lily, Hesperantha coccinea (Syn. Schizostylis coccinea: the species (coccinea) was named for the petals of - somewhat - blood-red) is a hard colour to use, requiring (for me) masses of green. So red Kaffir Lily appearing near my cerulean iris in the `Sun and Sky’ bed spoils my carefully chosen palette of blues, lemon and soft buttery yellow with its intrusive, `look at me’ post-box vermillion. White forms seem less hardy; perhaps I tried it in my unwatered garden in years of drought. Dry years will come again in force but now I am just enjoying – as my plants are – this bountiful aqua viva.

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