Coming in Late

Hesperanthas tend to get nipped by frost here before they have much chance to flower. For some reason they always seem to flower late in my garden. They’re usually described as an autumn flower. (I’ve also seen sites say that they’re a late summer flower. But I certainly wouldn’t say November, or if I’m lucky, October is ‘late summer’!)

Maybe the late flowering is because the climate here is much drier than they like and they wait for the late autumn/winter rains to get them started. (They like that elusive ‘moist but well drained’ position that we don’t have very much of. There is the choice of well-drained and dry or yet more well-drained and dry. Adding compost helps but creating it takes time.) Plants that like damper conditions have to be kept watered in summer. Perhaps if I water the hesperanthas more thoroughly, they’ll flower a bit earlier.

I really wanted to photograph this plant before the frost could destroy the flowers, so I kept it in a pot under glass*. That worked well and it stayed in flower for a few weeks. Having the flowers protected from the weather meant that they stayed in great condition for being photographed.

This is a trick I often try with new plants – it allows me to have undamaged flowers to photograph and can make it much easier to get at them for photography too. (Once plants are in a border, it can be difficult to get near enough to them without trampling on their neighbours.)

Now that the photographs have been taken, I can plan where to plant out this hesperantha (or ‘river lily’). It will probably be a lot happier – especially if I manage to create an area that can easily be kept well-watered for all the plants that like moisture. (A bit like a bog garden without the bog.) I think that might be a challenge for next year.

POSTSRIPT: I was amused to see that I’ve misled some readers by using a common phrase in UK gardening. ‘Under glass’ just means in a greenhouse, conservatory or cold frame. The hesperantha has been in the conservatory for a while and will spend the rest of the winter in the greenhouse. It’s interesting to see how phrases we take for granted don’t necessarily travel well, hehe!

24 thoughts on “Coming in Late

    1. Thank you Jude! I wasn’t too sure about this one because two PC monitors didn’t agree on the colour balance…time to faff around with monitor calibration, sigh…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Having read more of the comments, I should explain that ‘under glass’ is a UK phrase for ‘in a greenhouse or conservatory’. Didn’t realise how much confusion I could cause, LOL! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And now I can see that I probably confused you with ‘under glass’ – it’s a UK phrase that just means to put something in a greenhouse or conservatory, hehe! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understood that. I had a small greenhouse for my cactus collection at one time. Before that I built one out of storm windows and lumber. But I moved a lot and it became quite difficult to disassemble and then reassemble so I got the aluminum and glass one. Long gone now. My cactus collection is much smaller and we have a greenhouse window over the kitchen sink.

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  1. ‘River lily’ certainly suggests a love of moisture. I don’t know much about gardening, but I do understand how hard it can be to keep plants evenly moist. Your idea of putting the plant under glass was creative. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that. I would have thought it might get burned. Did you also keep it out of direct sunlight?

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    1. Ah, I didn’t think about using the phrase ‘under glass’ – here it just means to put it in a greenhouse or a conservatory (it got a bit of both). I can see how the phrase is misleading! (Think I’ll just add a little explanation to that one!) I guess this shows that gardening phrases aren’t universal around the world, hehe!

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      1. It may be that there are parts of our country where “under glass” would be perfectly understandable. I’ve never seen a glass greenhouse in Texas. People tend to put up sheet plastic in the winter, and take it down in spring.

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      2. I imagine that plants would get toasted to death in a greenhouse in Texas! They’re really useful here, especially for protecting plants over winter and for growing tomatoes, cucumbers etc. in summer. Makes me realise how very different growing conditions are around the world.

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    1. Thanks Syd! I should think that plants would get well-cooked if they were in a greenhouse where you are! But it is interesting to see how gardening varies around the world. 🙂 (A greenhouse is vital to keeping some plants alive over winter – we have plants spending the winter in the conservatory too – we treat it as an indoor garden.)

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      1. I think that would be so much fun to have. A few people have little windows that stick out for plants, but it does get awfully hot if you have full sun during some of the seasons.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The conservatory is something I’d always wanted – I love the indoors/outdoors feel and all the light it gets. This is the house we want to stay in for the rest of our lives, so we treated ourselves and we do love it!


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