Greetings from West WalesAll of our plants are grown on an exposed hillside 650’ above sea level, within 8 miles of Cardigan Bay.
In 1998 we set up a specialist nursery called Prime Perennials, supplying perennials, grasses and bulbs for those who had a serious passion for the unusual and obscure.
In April 2009, we decided to close the nursery, to free up more time to deal with the affairs of an ill parent, and to better concentrate on the National Collection.
HOW THE TULBAGHIA COLLECTION CAME INTO BEING
COMMON NAMES: Society garlic, Sweet garlic, Pink Agapanthus, wildeknoflok, wilde knoffel (Afr.) The genus Tulbagia [Alliaceae] was created by Linnaeus based on material sent to Europe in 1769 by C. Rijk van Tulbagh, then Governor of the Cape Province. In 1792 this was corrected by P.C. Giseke to Tulbaghia.
Two hundred and thirty years later.......
My first acquisition was a Tulbaghia cernua hybrid [which I acquired misnamed] It fitted the parameters of the nursery in supplying something a little bit unusual.
Having little experience with the ease at which South African Tulbaghia species over winter at this altitude [albeit in an unheated tunnel] I was very impressed.
Further more, their ease of culture and the longevity of the flowering period was so remarkable that I was prompted over the next year or so to acquire a few more.
There seemed to be a discrepancy in the identity and naming of plants obtained from other nurseries and eventually I contacted Dave Fenwick who held the NCCPG National Plant Reference Collection of Tulbaghia in Plymouth.
Sadly in 2007, Dave Fenwick who was instrumental in initially introducing Tulbaghia to me, announced that he had to give up his NCCPG National Plant Collections due to ill health.
Not only has Dave contributed enormously to the study, culture, photography, identification, research, horticultural promotion and conservation of southern African bulbs and their hybrids but I can think of few people who have been so committed, enthusiastic and generous with free advice on promoting these bulbs, many of which are rarely seen in Britain.
Of his NCCPG collections, Dave did far more than just encompass the NCCPG remit, upholding the standard of custodianship, but also set a high standard for those of us who follow him.
I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU to Dave and wish him all of the best in pursuing his other interests which hopefully will not impact on his health as much.
You can still view Daves’ images. Click on The African Garden from our Links page.
So, inspired by the diversity of the genus and Dave Fenwicks superb photos much of my collection correctly named has been obtained from him.
I now realised that what at first had been a delight in the unusual had become an obsession.
With over 70 species, inter-specific hybrids and cultivars in the collection I am surprised at how little this delightful genus of easy to grow South African plants is known.
Of course their common name of 'Society Garlic' doesn't do much for the old image either.
Admittedly some [but not all] have that odour if the foliage is bruised or when they are divided, however many also have heady clove/incense/cinnamon/almond scented flowers which can stop you in your tracks.
Few other genus provide flowers for such an extensive period.
Commencing March/April flowering continues through out the summer into September/October, while others which flower later extend the season right through to December and March. [with protection that is]
So we are seldom without Tulbaghia flowers.
While a few of these accommodating plants are reasonably hardy and can be planted in the garden, the rest are easily accommodated in pots which is how I prefer to grow them.
They are perfect for the patio or a sunny spot in the garden.
The smaller species particularly can then be viewed in close proximity and it's an easy job to remove them into a dry environment for the winter.
Not only will they intrigue your visitors, but how nice to relax at the end of the day surrounded with beautifully scented plants.
We even bring the odd plant into the house for the evening just to indulge ourselves.
OUR NEW TULBAGHIA CULTIVAR INTRODUCTIONS:
THE HORTICULTURAL INDUSTRIES RESPONSIBILITY.
Many nurseries love to be able to have a new hybrid to name.
It’s exciting to see the results of our labour, and as an aside we can charge a little more for a new introduction for a year or two until it eventually it circulates into the public domain.
Many crosses are insufficiently different from the parents so why bother naming them?
Well unscrupulous nurseries do so purely for profit, and self promotion.
However if they then do not register their new hybrids and that should include photographic publishing and morphological details, not just a lax description on their web or catalogue, then many plants will be replicated.
Not only can I see absolutely no justification for charging the public more for a new plant if that plant already exists under another name, but it will also create turmoil within Tulbaghia nomenclature, and such bad practice [from those who should know better] reflects badly on those of us who responsibly endeavour to go through time consuming task of registration which in the case of Tulbaghia is with K.A.V.B. in Holland.
All Tulbaghia offered, are raised here in West Wales.
I do not condone or import Tulbaghia plants that have been collected from the wild in South Africa to sell on to you.
I responsibly source new species only from responsible sources. That is, those people in South Africa who are known to aid Conservation.
I then import one, and all of the stock is built up from that one plant.
I also do not condone species from the wild appended with a catchy commercial name just in order that they may sell better.
They are not mine to name!
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