BABIANA

In flower during June and July, this is an interesting bulb for the sunny sheltered garden. It does best in gardens of the West Country which enjoy mild conditions throughout the winter. In the north they did not achieve best results until transferred to a cold greenhouse where they produced their violet-blue flowers in profusion throughout spring. But in gardens other than the most exposed, the bulbs should winter comfortably if given some protection by way of a mulch and then a covering with bracken or ashes. Or the bulbs may be lifted as for gladioli during early November and planted again in early April after wintering in a dry, frost-proof room. The bulbs should be planted 4 in. deep in early spring into I well-drained, loamy soil containing plenty of sand.

BABIANA

Indoors they make excellent pot plants, being potted during August and moved to a protected cold frame during September. Early in December they should be moved to a warm greenhouse or into the home. The blooms are of a rich blue colour very similar to the Tritonias but having broader, hairy foliage. They are sweetly perfumed and freely produced and what is equally important they are so inexpensive.

SPECIES

Babiana disticha. From South Africa and produces its steely blue flowers on 9-in, stems throughout July.

B. plicata. Requires a sunny position preferably on the rockery where it will bear its sturdy purple-blue flowers throughout June.

B. rubro-cyanea. A lovely species bearing tufted blue and camson flowers in profusion during midsummer.

B. villosa. Produces its 6-in. Spikes of rich blue crocus-like flowers during midsummer and is also an ideal cool greenhouse plant.

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