I am no fan of bulbs. They just don’t make much sense to me in a Southern California garden. I did have a bed of various Iris once. One winter a guy touring my yard noticed this large bare spot and asked what I was going to plant there. What? I had like 20 Iris planted there. Then it dawned on me. I live in Southern California. Why plant something that hibernates a few months out of the year? Look, I get it. If I lived in a more climatically challenged area where, let’s say, it snows, they might actually be my favorite type of plant. Here? Not so much.
OK, so the whole “I am no fan of bulbs” comment was really just tongue-in-cheek. So don’t send me hate mail. The truth is that I actually own two herbaceous bulbous plants, each given as a gift. Both my plants are tropical Hippeastrum hybrids.
Hippeastrum ‘Baby Star’ was given to me by a good friend while visiting his garden a few years back. I really didn’t want the plant but I couldn’t refuse it either. I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. When I got home I walked the yard looking for a spot in the garden I could plant it; a location where, once it went dormant, the rest of the landscape around it would pick up the slack. I have been reworking this part of the yard shown below and quite a few plants were removed to make room for some boulders and larger aloes going in later this year. Hippeastrum ‘Baby Star’ brightens up this spot for a few weeks out of the year but it is in need of some companion plants, as it looks a little lonely in the garden right now.
This is the third year Hippeastrum ‘Baby Star’ has flowered, and each year it gets better and better. I love the flashy red trumpet-shaped flowers with white mid stripes and green throat.
Hippeastrum ‘Apple Blossom’ was given to me as a birthday present from a good friend’s wife. This was a plant-and-forget type operation in my garden. What a surprise to see this popping up in some forgotten part of the landscape.
While not as showy as my Hippeastrum ‘Baby Star,’ Hippeastrum ‘Apple Blossom’ does have pretty white and soft pink flowers that actually shine in the garden when the sun hits them.
My Hippeastrum ‘Baby Star’ and ‘Apple Blossom’ both have an uncanny bloom timing as well. In my garden they time their flower perfectly, right after most my Clivias have finished with their floral display but just before my Daylilies steal the show. They do a great job of filling a gap in the flowering rhythm of my garden so I can have something in bloom at all times. Maybe I will add a few more.