Monday, May 5, 2008

Lily Of The Incas

One of the most reliable year round bloomers is the alstroemeria, named for the Swedish baron who first collected its seeds in South America in 1753. Also known as the Peruvian Lily, or Lily Of The Incas, this is a favorite for bouquets, as it has a vase life of over two weeks. This is one flower you don't pick, rather, it should be grasped down stem and the entire cane pulled out of the ground, to encourage the clump to produce new growth. Here along the coast, it grows easily in sun or semi-shade and once planted, prefers to stay put. One plant can put up 80 canes a sesaon and each cane can produce up to 10 flowers. This plant is unique in that its leaves swirl up from the base in such a way that what shows on top is actually the underside of the leaf. If your garden has room for a few of these hardy plants, they'll keep you in beatiful, jewel-toned, fresh cut flowers all year long.

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