As well as being a tourist attraction, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a scientific centre for the study of plants, diversity, and conservation. The gardens living collection is made up of 13,302 different species of plant, and the herbarium has over 3,000,000 preserved specimens. This makes it a world leading botanical collection.
When it comes to bulbous plants, South Africa is one of those areas of the world which gifts us with a great variety of striking shapes and colours, as in the case of the beautiful orange blossoms of this perennial, evergreen species I photographed at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Native to shady and humid woodland, Natal or Bush lily does very well as a houseplant, requiring little care aside from careful watering - it should be kept dry or barely moist through winter and watered mostly during spring and after the flowering period, depending on the circumstances. Generally it also tends to flower more profusely if grown in a container just slightly larger than the bulb-like base and root ball, rather than a much bigger one.
Although it has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant in its native region, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, therefore outside of areas where it can be planted outdoors to benefit wildlife -the flowers attract particularly butterflies- its value as a houseplant is simply ornamental.
“There he goes, in his long russet surtout, sweeping down yonder gravel-walk, beneath the trees, like a yellow leaf in autumn wafted along by a fitful gust of wind.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow // Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland | GarettPhotography
Aside from the Zygopetalum species I wrote about a while ago, I also have a weakness for yellow orchids…I have always loved the colour, but even more so since I have been living in Scotland, where it reminds me of the Italian sunshine I’m missing out on (yes, I mention it often, yes I am metereopathic).
From top to bottom:
- Dendrobium thyrsiflorum, Himalayas and mountainous Northern Indochina;
- Dendrobium moschatum, Himalayas and Indochina;
- Dendrobium aggregatum, mountainous Southern China and SE Asia;
- Coelogyne massangeana, SE Asia.
Photos taken at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, D. aggregatum at Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden.