Clivias on show

2010-05-21 00:00

A RELIABLE indicator that winter is here are the familiar puffs of orange and yellow­ Clivia blossoms that appear in shady areas around the midlands. The first to bloom are the gardenii, described as the Cinderella of the Clivia family.

“When you talk about Clivias most people think of the miniata, the big orange­ or yellow ones,’’ says Brian Tarr, manager of an upcoming show that will be devoted to showing off the beauty of the gardenii.

On May 29 the 115-or-so members of the KwaZulu-Natal Clivia Club will be out in force at the show in Umlaas Road to help promote this plant.

“They’re great for landscaping,’’ says Tarr, “and they flower now.’’

There are six species of Clivias in the world and all are unique to South Africa, although the plant has become popular around the world, especially in China where their shape and belt-like green leaves are popular­. For South African gardeners the plants are hardy, always green and perfect for our climate, according to show advertising manager and fellow club member Liz Cuthbert.

Tarr, former curator of the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens and a self-described plantsman, says that Clivias are not difficult to grow, but they’re difficult to grow well — which is why he likes them.

“Every morning I walk through my shade house and look at my plants,’’ he says with satisfaction. Next weekend members of the public will have the opportunity of sharing this enjoyment. • The show will be held at the Cycad Centre­ in Umlaas Road on May 29, starting at 9 am. Entrance is free and plants and refreshments will be on sale.

To get there take the Umlaas Road turn-off from the N3 and follow directions from the bridge. For inquiries phone Brian Tarr at 083 455 5302 or Liz Cuthbert at 082 449 5361.

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