Monday, April 19, 2010

Bright Beacons .. Elegant Ixia & Incarvillea

Incarvillea arguta .... aka summer gloxinia is native to the Himalayas. A lovely perennial that's well suited to partly sunny sites. Boasting divided foliage with a distinctive fern-like foliage, it grows as a sub-shrub in the Bay Area. I must wait until midsummer for the blooming to stand out as a focal point. But once the trumpet flowers emerge on terminal stems, the flowering continues well into the fall. A choice perennial, Incarvillea takes its name from a Jesuit missionary to China in the 1700s, Pierre d'Incarville. The species, arguta refers to the plant's "sharply toothed or notched" leaves, according to Gledhill's Names of Plants.

The African corn lilies are strutting their stuff! Ixia hybrids from South Africa's Western Cape province are members of the Iris family: Bulbous plants that have naturalized here, so I can look forward to a perennial show in April, as the wiry stems shoot up into space while the garden is coming to life.

The oval buds are appealing, while the star-like flowers - 12 on a single stem - emerge in rosy reds and golden yellows, none as abundant as brilliant white blooms with edges flushed pink and dark throats. Blooms open when basking in sunshine, but remain closed under cloudy skies. In summer my garden receives little water, emulating the South African habitat: When the Ixias enter a period of dormancy, my garden's exotic dahlias varieties can take center stage.
1999 The early days - to the present.


  1. I have to admit, both of these plants are new to me. The Ixia looks so elegant.

  2. So dramatic! Some of those South African bulbs can look so other-worldly! Yours, though remind me of a lady in gloves!

  3. beautiful! We have an Ixia viridiflora at the UBC Botanical Gardens that is blue! So pretty.