Things to love about Australia: Clivia

I was reminiscing to my friend Joan the other day about White Flower Farm. We used to get their catalog, back when we had a garden that benefited from a good chunk of of our weekend efforts. I’d drool over the entries in their glossy pages and dream about the showstopper of a garden I’d have someday. It’s fabulous dream fodder.

One flower I remember in particular, Clivia, was sold as an indoor flowering plant. You can spend about $90 with White Flower Farm for a 7″ pot that will flower if you can keep it alive for another 2-3 years. You can even get special editions of the flower for about $800. Yes, eight hundred dollars! (You still have to wait a few years for blooms. Sorry.)

Still, I thought, someday I’ll have a flower like that. But you know what? It turns out they grow like WEEDS here in Australia! They’re ground covers in public parks. They pop up along the hillside behind the marina. They’re used in large shady tracts around neighborhood yards. And they are beautiful: even more than the catalog suggested. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have one, but I’m enjoying them all around me.

Here’s our $800 “weed”. I’m going to try and save a few seeds and send them to Joan. Her husband Rainer has a talent for nurturing amazing life from seeds… he specializes in bonsai but I think he’ll humor this. If you’re still here with me, check out Joan’s blog, and send her a little light.

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