Friday, August 10, 2012

Tigridia Pavonia

Tigridia pavonia
     One of the flowers blooming in my garden now is Tigridia pavonia, also known as the Mexican shell flower.  This is a bulb from Mexico which I grew in my old garden on Fletcher Bay, but which I hadn't grown in my present garden until last year.  I think I just overlooked it until now, but since taking up photography, as I have mentioned before, my priorities on what makes a good garden plant have changed.  This plant, from a photography point of view, is spectacular.
     What I have just written makes it sound like this is not such a great plant were it not for the spectacular flowers, but that is not the case.  While each flower lasts only one day, enough flowers keep coming day after day, that you get about as long a bloom period as many other bulbs.  The plant is also relatively easy--just plant it in full sun and treat it like any other normal bulb in your garden.  I have it in a spot that not only is in full sun, but has good soil and is fairly moist.  I have not tried this bulb in a lot of other situations in the garden so I don't know how drought tolerant it is.
     I think I got the bulbs for this from a local retail nursery, but many mail order bulb nurseries also carry it.  In fact, I like it so well that I think I will order more bulbs. 
     The flowers on each plant vary somewhat. Some of them are red, some yellow.  Some have more mottling in the center; others do not have that.  Some have solid colored petals; others have a bicolor effect like the flower in the picture.  I understand from the internet that there are some that are more pink or purple, but none of mine are.  Since I love pink and purple, I am going to try to get some of those.
     I am told on the internet that this bulb is hardy to zone 8.

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