companion plant for Mediterranean gardens

jacqueline9CAMarch 5, 2014

If you live in a Mediterranean climate, these little bulbs are so pretty and care free. AND you only have to plant them 1/2 inch down (they are only about that big), so there is hardly any digging. Mine have come back year after year, and multiplied. So nice after the tuips all only stay for one season, and even the daffodils disappear after 4-5.

Mine started blooming a couple of weeks ago - here are some pics of blooms which are NOT the normal orange color:

cerise

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jacqueline9CA

Pale pink:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:56PM
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jacqueline9CA

White:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:59PM
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jacqueline9CA

Red/maroon:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:00PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

And do they have a name?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 7:44PM
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mohavemaria

Looks like ixia which I haven't seen in more years than I'd care to admit. Love bulbs that return without any special care. Paper whites and saffron crocus are great here for that.

Maria

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:39PM
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bluegirl_gw

Yes, very pretty....WHAT ARE THEY? Sounds like a great choice for my zone, too.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:40PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Sparaxis. Native to So. Africa. Very showy.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 9:11PM
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jacqueline9CA

Yes, sorry - sparaxis. They are only about 6-8 inches tall, which is another reason I like them.

Ixia are another So African bulb which I also grow and are just as easy. Ixia blooms grow on long stems, with multiple blooms on both sides of the stem. They usually are over 2 feet tall here. Pic of ixia:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:56AM
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jacqueline9CA

Last pic - sparaxis again - just wanted to admit that most of the flowers are this orange color. Took this yeseterday:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:59AM
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rosefolly

You mentioned even daffodils disappearing after 4-5 years. Someone who used to be on the Antique Roses Forum, and who had previously lived in the Bay Area, advised me years ago to plant daffodils from the Tazetta group if I wanted them to stay around. I took her advice politely and with a grain of salt, but it turns out she was absolutely right. I thank her to this day. Wish I could remember her name.

The best known Tazettas are the paperwhites, so successful they are almost a weed. In any case I am not wild about white daffodils. I want them to fit Wordsworth's famous lines so them must have at least some part that is yellow or deeper. My favorite is Golden Dawn. Other tazettas would include Minnow, Geranium, and Scarlet Gem. There are more.

There is a man in Santa Cruz who is the local expert on daffodils. He sells bulbs and cut flowers, and even breeds them. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill the Bulb Baron

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 12:53AM
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Campanula UK Z8

or you could try the triandrus group 9 - native to the meditteranean....including the justly famous Thalia....and numerous other wonderful whites.
Also, group 7 - jonquillas will be good for So.Cal....as well as having fabulous fragrance without the sickly overtones of paperwhites.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:20AM
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Campanula UK Z8

or you could try the triandrus group 9 - native to the meditteranean....including the justly famous Thalia....and numerous other wonderful whites.
Also, group 7 - jonquillas will be good for So.Cal....as well as having fabulous fragrance without the sickly overtones of paperwhites.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:23AM
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jacqueline9CA

Ha! Paperwhites - they like it so much outside here that they immediately spread and form clumps so thick that they stop blooming - we just dug up hundreds of bulbs in about a 1 ft by 1 ft space (I swear I never planted more than 6 there), and threw most of them away, and replanted a bunch elsewhere.

I have planted the other warm weather daffodils, and some of them are still coming up, but not spreading, and not as dependable as the South African bulbs.

Jackie

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:59AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Van Engelen is a great source for bulbs if you need a lot of a particular variety (see link below). They have a "Southland Mix" of Narcissi that's supposed to do well in zones 8-10. They also have individual varieties of Jonquillas and Tazettas if you'd rather have uniformity.

I've been looking into companion perennials for my new garden here, and while I'm not in a Mediterranean climate, I have come across some interesting plants I hadn't heard of before. Perhaps some of these would work for you as well. Note that I was leaning heavily toward blue and purple-blue shades in flowers, and that the list below includes only the plants which were "new to me" -- I'm not including the Campanula, Geranium, Nigella, Sedum, etc. varieties I ordered that are likely already well-known to members here.

:-)

~Christopher

Anchusa capensis 'Dropmore'

Asperula orientalis

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Consolida regalis 'Blue Cloud'

Cynoglossum amabile 'Firmament'

Lithodora 'Grace Ward'

Prunella grandiflora 'Freelander Blue'

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Here is a link that might be useful: Van Engelen Bulbs

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Campanula UK Z8

mmmm - going down the blue route
try linum perenne or linum narbonense - easy to sow direct
legousia, phacelia, nemophilia - all other direct sown annuals
lithodora requires a more acidic soil than mine....but omphalodes verna is a possible substitute.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:32AM
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catspa_NoCA_Z9_Sunset14

I can vouch for Thalia the triandrus daffodil in a warm climate. Mine not have not only bloomed every year for years but have proliferated with not a bit of care.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 12:04PM
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morrisnoor(z9b Sardinia Italy)

Small early bulbs are a very good choice under shrub roses, they start to disappear when the roses are covered in leafs and bloomin', so their fading leaves are barely noticeable.

Among my favorites, there are Ipheion in different varieties (white 'Alberto Castillo' is the very best), Hyacinthoides hispanica, Allium neapolitanum, and -for frost free areas- Freesias of course.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:48AM
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Campanula UK Z8

mmmm, yep, ipheon are always good value - there is a good deep blue - Rolf Fiedler and, in my garden, pink Charlotte Bishop flowers for weeks. Chionodoxa lucillae, hepatica nobilis and lovely anemone blanda are also great companions.
You might try another SA bulb (which I have never grown myself) - rhodohypoxis.....and I would have thought there would be a good cyclamen. Calochortus? I have only grown the pale pink C.venustus but would definitely explore this genus if I had the appropriate climate. Zephyranthes - another I would have enjoyed, if only......

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Campanula UK Z8

mmmm, yep, ipheon are always good value - there is a good deep blue - Rolf Fiedler and, in my garden, pink Charlotte Bishop flowers for weeks. Chionodoxa lucillae, hepatica nobilis and lovely anemone blanda are also great companions.
You might try another SA bulb (which I have never grown myself) - rhodohypoxis.....and I would have thought there would be a good cyclamen. Calochortus? I have only grown the pale pink C.venustus but would definitely explore this genus if I had the appropriate climate. Zephyranthes - another I would have enjoyed, if only......

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:33AM
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morrisnoor(z9b Sardinia Italy)

Campanula, there's also a darker Rolf Fiedler's offspring, which is called 'Jesse'. They are shy bloomers compared to the common 'Wisley Blue' od the giant of the group, 'Alberto Castillo'.
Rhodohypoxis are not easy to grow in my experience. Another very good "bulb" among the roses, old or new, are mediterranean Gladiolus, like G. italicus and G. byzantinus.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Campanula UK Z8

cheers, Morris - have to say, it's great to see you posting again - I always loved your fabulous Sardinian garden.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:47PM
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jacqueline9CA

Thanks! I have now printed this thread - going to look up and see if I can find some of the other bulbs recommended for Mediterranean climates.

Ipheon - those are those little blue star shaped flowers? I planted a bunch of the Wisley Blue in 2 large pots, and around some iris out by the street 20 years ago. The iris are long gone, but the little blue star shaped flowers have come back every single year, including everywhere I planted them. They are blooming right now. I had forgotten their name - thanks again.

Jackie

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:26PM
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