Clivia queen rakes in the prizes

Breeder on way to East Lon­don show, then Ja­pan and China

Talk of the Town - - News - LOUISE CARTER

LO­CAL per­son­al­ity and avid gar­dener An­nie de Wet Steyn sur­prised all when she came home with eight first, three sec­ond and three third prizes for the beau­ti­ful clivias she en­tered in the Eastern Cape Clivia As­so­ci­a­tion’s show held at Sher­wood Gar­dens in Port El­iz­a­beth on Septem­ber 16.

“It meant the world to me. I was walk­ing on air for a week. I had every­one there – chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, so it was very spe­cial, “she said.

A clivia is a type of mono­cot flow­er­ing plants na­tive to south­ern Africa. They are from the fam­ily Amaryl­l­i­daceae, sub-fam­ily Amaryl­li­doideae and is also known by its com­mon names, Natal lily or bush lily.

They are herba­ceous ev­er­green plants, with green, strap-like leaves. In­di­vid­ual flow­ers are more or less bell-shaped, oc­cur­ring in um­bels on a stalk above the fo­liage; colours typ­i­cally range from yel­low through orange to red. Many cul­ti­vars ex­ist, some with var­ie­gated leaf pat­terns.

Clivias have been in­volved in ex­ten­sive breed­ing pro­grammes through­out the years.

Some of the traits that breed­ers look for in­clude larger blooms, var­ie­ga­tion, dif­fer­ent flower colours and even dif­fer­ent leaf ar­range­ments. Some of the hy­brids sell for ex­or­bi­tant prices due to their rar­ity.

With spring fi­nally here, De wet Steyn is putting all her en­ergy in cul­ti­vat­ing the beau­ti­ful plants and have ab­sorbed the cul­ture of clivia cul­ti­va­tion with full force. Six months ago, De wet Steyn­bought 85 000 clivias from a rep­utable breeder and be­ing quite new to clivias, it’s taken her only this short amount of time to pro­duce top-qual­ity, world-class clivias.

“They are the most beau­ti­ful flow­ers, and it was quite sig­nif­i­cant that I could bring them back to their an­ces­try.”

De wet Steyn­said that clivias were dis­cov­ered in Port Al­fred in 1830 by Wil­liam Burchell and is still to­day a very pop­u­lar plant.

Ac­cord­ing to De wet Steyn, it’s a seven-day-a-week com­mit­ment, and at least 12 hours per day of pas­sion and care that goes into clivia breed­ing. Clivias are one of our more fa­mous plants in South Africa and it has man­aged to find its way into gar­dens around the globe.

De wet Stey­nis grow­ing them in pots and will be ex­port­ing to 46 dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Steyn said the Eastern Cape is home to sev­eral good breed­ers and that the gen­eral qual­ity of clivias is very good.

She looks for­ward to a trip to Ja­pan and China to learn about their cul­ture sur­round­ing clivias and tech­niques used by th­ese coun­tries in breed­ing.

De wet Steyn­will be trav­el­ling to East Lon­don to­mor­row for the East Lon­don Clivia Show where she will show­case her beau­ties once more.

PRETTY AS A FLOWER: An­nie de Wet Steyn proudly stands next to one of her prized clivias at the re­cent Eastern Cape Clivia As­so­ci­a­tion’s show in Port El­iz­a­beth. She won eight first prizes, three sec­ond prizes and three third-place prizes

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