STARRY EYED

NZ Gardener - - Q & A - Bar­bara Smith

QA friend gave me a clump of this un­usual wee flower from her 93-year-old mum’s gar­den. It flow­ered the first year, but waited three years be­fore giv­ing me four lovely flow­ers this year. What is it? GAY TAIT, GISBORNE

AJulie Lloyd of the Bulbs & Peren­ni­als So­ci­ety iden­ti­fied your flower as Spi­lox­ene capensi. In their 1994 book Bulbs for New Zealand Gar­dens, Jack Hobbs and Terry Hatch say they are small bulbs na­tive to South Amer­ica. “Some­times called golden stars, the 30-45 cm tall stems carry flow­ers which vary in colour, in­clud­ing white, golden yel­low and rarely pink. They usu­ally have iri­des­cent dark green or pea­cock-blue cen­tral eyes, although rarely the flow­ers are un­marked. It is an eas­ily grown species in well-drained loam.”

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