Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Little Competition Brings Out the Best

Back in late January I bought some Bulbine frutescens(Scroll down to page 11 of the link provided.) I had heard lots of good things about this plant.  It is drought tolerant and, most importantly to me at the time, cold hardy.  The plants were not blooming when I purchased them, but I am a very calm, patient gardener and knew I would be able to wait for blooms. 

Then, Ami at Southeast Florida Garden Evolvement posted a  beautiful picture of her blooms complete with BEES no less.

Obviously, I had to rush out to a garden center and buy more bulbine that was in bloom.  I planted the blooming bulbine near the non-blooming one and ....

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The non-bloomer accepted the challenge and has been blooming ever since.  There are subtle differences in the two plants.  The flower petals are shaped a bit differently and the flowers are spaced farther apart in the 'late bloomer'  variety.  The 'late bloomer' leaves seem to be more tightly clumping.  Both flowers are orange with those cool fuzzy yellow centers.  I haven't been able to find any information to explain why these plants are slightly different.  Anyone know?

And yes, I realize I'm NOT a calm, patient gardener.  That's why I have so many plants.


  1. Well, your first plant certainly couldn't be outdone! Don't know which two you have, but there are several different bulbine species and cultivars. Here is a link to a site that lists a few:

    Mine is Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark.' I brought it home from the Bok Tower nursery just last week! I hope it is super-tough as claimed.

  2. The yellow feather like centers do look pretty neat. Hope they do well for you.

  3. Nanak: Thanks for the mention AGAIN :) Isn't it interesting that plants do better with a little cometitions, huh? lol I don't know why the difference either... They are both beautiful! Could it be something in the environment that made the difference considering the late blooming has experienced some cold eather in your garden, and the one you recent bought might in a more protected environment?

  4. I do swear that gardening can make even the most patient person...impatient! Glad to hear that your plant accepted the challenge and got busy blooming. This is a very pretty plant and, I guess, I'm gonna have to buy some for my garden. I'll make sure it has blooms on it :-).

    p.s. I like your new header pic.

  5. There are different cultivars of bulbine. Rick (Riverview Flower Farms, which sells to Home Depot) swears by 'Hallmark.' From what I gather, different farms, like Rick's, select and grow what does best in their trials through the whole year. (OK, I don't know that others do that, but Rick does, and it certainly makes sense!) Your first cultivar may be slightly different from your second.
    By the way, I love bulbine! My three got nipped by the freeze, but I have one bloom on one. I'm trying to be a patient gardener!

  6. Floridagirl - Thanks for the link. Interesting that there are so many different types of bulbine. Even some that look totally different than our popular orange ones. I thought the Bok nursery was great and surprisingly not expensive. If I lived a little closer I would be a member for sure.

    sanddune - I have to admit that until I looked at the pictures I hadn't really noticed the beauty of the individual flowers. I really should slow down and enjoy my blooms more.

    Ami - I just love your header pic of the bulbine and the bee. I'm really envious. I have only seen a few bees in my yard lately and they have all been busy at the tomato plants. Unfortunately, I'm not quick enough with the camera to catch them for a photo.

    Susan - I'm sure this gardening thing is going to teach me patience. I mean, I can't make things happen any faster out there. I just have to accept conditions as they are. I am practicing taking a 10-15 minute walk through just to observe and enjoy without any weed pulling, or branch snipping. Bug squashing IS allowed however.

    Thanks for noticing my new header :)

    Penny - Thanks for the info on the different cultivars of bulbine. I bought mine from two different places so that is a probable explanation. Good to hear that yours made it through being nipped by the freeze. My first ones didn't go through the 11 day freeze but they got the brunt of several shorter ones and except for black tips, and late blooms, they were fine. Actually, they probably are blooming right on time for established plants. I have to remember that nursery plants have been in a different environment.

  7. That bulbine is hard to beat in any cultivar. I have the all yellow blooming variety as well as the orange and yellow. The all yellow seems to send up taller scapes which is fine with me.

    I'm glad yours are blooming now for you. I think once they get started they can't be stopped.


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