Tigrida (tiger lily) is a plant from Mexico with a stunning flower in summer. The common name comes from the spots on the flower which look like the spots on a tiger. The foliage is similar to gladioli, it produces several flowers on each stalk, each separate flower lasts for just one day. The flower colours range from white, cream, yellow, pink and red. The average height of the plant ranges from 18-24 inches and will flower from July to October. Plant the bulbs 3 inches deep in a sunny position in spring. The plant is semi-hardy so cover with a mulch in winter.
Agapanthus is a bulb that is in full flower at present. At one time agapanthus was considered a tender bulb, only suitable for growing in warm coastal gardens. Now it is available in an increasing range of new and hardier varieties. By carefully selecting suitable sites everybody can now enjoy agapanthus.
The plant is a native of South Africa, where it grows in the shade of trees, under cover from the strong sunlight that would cause the plants to dry out and scorch. In Ireland they need a warm sheltered position where they can bathe in sunlight for most of the day. They dislike waterlogged, heavy soils and also sandy soils that are prone to drying out during the growing season. If the soil is too rich, it will promote soft, lush growth that is prone to winter damage. Ample water during the growing season is also essential to ensure success.
Agapanthus has flower heads known as umbels, which are large and rounded and made up of many tubular flowers that are open wide at the mouth. Their colour ranges from shades of blue through to violet and there are also pure white forms. Unlike other plants, no breeder has yet been able to produce any freak colour forms such as pink or yellow. Different varieties of agapanthus can grow from 20 to 40 inches in height. There are two types of agapanthus flower, some are pendulous, but most are trumpet shaped.
Plant the rhizomes just deep enough to cover them with well-drained soil, enriched with well-rotted garden compost. Water well in dry weather. In frost-prone gardens cover the plant with a layer of mulch in winter or grow the plant in containers, where it likes being pot-bounded. When clumps become overcrowded, divide and replant the fleshy roots in mid- to late spring. Slugs and snails can be a problem when the new shoots appear in spring.
Agapanthus campanulatus is a clump-forming perennial with narrow strap-shaped leaves. ‘Albus’ has white flowers, while ‘Royal Blue’ has intense rich-blue flowers. Agapanthus can look well on their own or grown beside the blue-silver leaves of melianthus major, another South African plant. Alternatively, it can look fantastic growing among the silver foliage of santolina. The white agapanthus can look stunning growing next to the pink flowers of penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’ or ‘Evelyn’.
Jobs for the week
Prune spring flowering shrubs now that have finished flowering. Any shoots that carried flowers can be cut back to shape the shrub and control its size.
Cut down the stems of bearded irises when the flowers have faded.
In the greenhouse continue to pinch out side shoots in tomatoes and when they reach the roof, pinch out the growing tip and continue to feed.
Continue to take softwood cuttings of shrubs and tender perennials, they root quickly at this time of the year to produce strong young plants that will survive the winter. Cut a section, about 4 inches long, from the top of a non-flowering stem. Cut the stem just below a leaf joint and remove the lower leaves so that two or three leaves are left on the stem. Dip the stem into hormone rooting power and tap to remove the excess. Using a pencil, insert the cutting into a suitable compost, firm it and water. Enclose the cutting in a plastic bag or propagator. Make a suitable compost by mixing equal parts of potting compost and sharp sand.
Hardwood cuttings of deciduous trees, shrubs and roses are taken from late autumn on, when the leaves have fallen off. Stems about 9 inches long are cut below a bud. The cuttings are inserted in a trench, in the open, that is sheltered from north and east winds. Place a layer of sand in the bottom of the trench to improve drainage. The cuttings are placed about 4 inches deep in the trench. The cuttings may take a year to produce sufficient roots before transplanting.
Maigue, Flower and Garden Club, on Tuesday 2nd September will have class on flower arranging, anyone interested to any visitors that are interested (€5) and existing members in the Woodlands House Hotel, Adare at 8pm. Those participating should bring their own Oasis, Flowers and Containers. Further information can be had from Mary Keating on 061 227821