Monday, January 12, 2009

Reaping What You Sow

We're in the midst of a warm spell, our first Santa Ana condition of the new year. Yesterday got into the high 70s and happily, it should hold for the next few days. The warm weather woke the garden up and there were enough blossoms for a good sized bouquet. The hot colors of African daisies and alstroemeria mixed well with some random bougainvillea, calla and canna leaves as filler.

Alstroemeria are beautiful and useful. These azalealike flowers are invasive in a good way - they are easily divided, transplant well and self sow. Their colorful streaked clusters are some of the best, longest lasting cut flowers ever. When transplanting, dig up a clump and simply cut it with a serrated knife into sections, as you would a day lily. They bloom almost continuously in mild climates and are a reliable flower around which to build a bouquet. In cold climates, they're hardy if kept mulched. They grow 2-5 feet tall and work best at the back of a border. If you like fresh cut flowers, try to find a spot in your garden for these beauties - you won't be disappointed.

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