Freesia "Alfacar Hybrids"
Although Spring is traditionally regarded as the season for planting seeds, many plants from the Mediterranean and similar regions are adapted to commence growth in the Autumn, coming into flower from late Winter to late Spring then entering a period of dormancy during the hot dry summer months.
Foremost among this specialised group of plants are the bulbs, corms and tubers. Across the Mediterranean and in similar climatic zones around the world, landscapes are transformed by a dazzling array of brilliant and fascinating blooms. In South Africa, Freesia, Gladiolus and Sparaxis illuminate the veldt while throughout the European, African and western Asian countries of the Mediterranean region, Muscari, Ornithogalum, Gladiolus, Romulea, Biarum and Arum delight and intrigue with their gorgeous and sometimes bizarre flowers.
Whether they are enclosed in dry capsules (Gladiolus, etc) or fleshy berries (Arum, etc), these seeds are "programmed" to commence growth with the falling temperatures and increased rainfall of Autumn. Contrary to popular conceptions, most bulbous and tuberous plants are easily grown from seeds. In many instances, this is the only way to obtain the more unusual and scarce species. Furthermore, raising more familiar species from seed obtained from reputable growers and breeders is always a better way to acquire new and interesting variations because the mass-produced, cut price bulbs and corms so easily obtained in supermarkets and garden centres are usually unvarying clones that have been in cultivation for many decades.
Although it is true that some bulbs take many years to flower from seed, others are remarkably quick to bloom. Hybrid Freesia, for example, will delight with a multitude of colours and an exquisite fragrance within seven months from sowing. Species Gladiolus can bloom in their second or third year and, while Arum may take three or four years to bloom, their interesting and beautiful foliage is fascinating from the seedling stage.
At ABC Bulbs and Seeds we grow and supply an ever increasing range of variations of the familiar favourites, interesting varieties and unusual or scarce seeds of this wonderful group of plants. We are very excited about the wide range of unique colour combinations to be found in our own hybrid freesias, which we have called "Alfacar Hybrids" after the historic Andalucian town of Alfacar, the home of ABC. We are cultivating an increasing number of species endemic to southern Spain and this year are offering - for the first time - seeds of the interesting Spanish aroid, Biarum carratracense.
Among other fresh seeds currently available are a selection of lovely South African Gladiolus including our latest crossing of G. tristis and G. huttonii, Veltheimia bracteata, Lachenalia bulbifera, the unusual monotypic Melasphaerula ramosa, and Romulea tempskyana. Other unusual species such as the extraordinary climbing bulb, Bowiea volubilis, will be available soon.
We believe that it is best practise to offer bulb seeds for sale as soon as they are ripe. This ensures that the customer is able to buy the freshest seeds grown and harvested by us rather than dry, stored imports. These can then be sown at the optimum time to maximise the chances of growing beautiful and healthy plants. Checking our website regularly or joining our e-mailing list will ensure that you are informed of new items as and when they become available.
There´s always room for another plant!
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