The shoot was barely detectable nestled between the cascading leaves on Clivia’s. There were 3 three year old plants in the pot, the first of my first batch of seedlings to flower.
We had started to breed with Clivia’s as a hobby, buying mature plants and collecting seed wherever possible. Ripe berries on road verges, in friends gardens and in parks – all were collected eagerly and planted in a variety of media.
So it was with great excitement that we saw the floral spike emerging after returning to the Garden Route from a bird monitoring trip at the end of August. Excitement because this was our first flower from in excess of 5000 seeds planted over the past three years.
There is a hint of magic in September as the Clivia’s yeild their floral spikes, seemingly out of nowhere. Following the first emergence, it is an agonising fortnight to three weeks before the first tepals burst open in a dazzling display of colour, a vivid enrichment of the muted green under canopy.
This month to share the moment with our first seedling was the first opening of a plant aquired from Piet Theron from the Southern Cape Clivia Club. Offered as an offset, it has taken over a year to initially root and then produce more leaves in preparation of it’s first bloom.
Testimony to Piet’s breeding program, the tepals have large and broad petals.
Mid September, while inspecting our array of Clivia’s, it appeared as if two of the peach specimens were going to produce yellow umbels this season compared to their delicate apricot of 2011. A week later, remaining true to their genetics, the hints of yellow transformed to their original shares.
No doubt another surprise was a Clivia that Amanda aquired two years ago. Driving along a back road she saw a garden service dumping a load of plants and loaded a few to bring home. Flowering for the first time, it has produced a flower with magnificent florets, rich in colour with an overall large size that will most likely compliment our future Clivia breeding program.