First move was to plant a row of vinca along the front. But I wanted a permanent addition as well, and after a lot of plotting and consulting I decided on clivia. It's a funny plant, mostly it's associated with potted plants or greenhouses, or maybe a grandmother's garden up north where it's a bit more tropical. Most of what you read about it says it likes warm shade with a fair amount of water. But it turns out it also tolerates the hardest garden niche but the one I have the most of: dry shade.
I've rounded out my plans for the narrow little bed along the garage. This is what the thing looked like when we first moved in (on the right-hand side). Not exactly inspiring.
So I ordered three plants from a nursery online. Clivia are not cheap because they take at least four years to go from seed to flower, so buying one at flowering age can easily put you back $40 or $60! No way I was going to pay that much, but I also didn't want to wait years for them to flower. So I found this mail-order nursery that had much more reasonable prices. I ordered one of their cheapest varieties, Sahin Twin, because they're meant to put out two stalks of flowers per year. A few days later they arrived in the mail, a bit cramped but in otherwise good shape and very healthy looking.
They were sent bare-rooted and I could see why. Their roots are like fat, pale worms, very thick. This one actually had the smallest root ball of the three. I'm going to guess that's why they tolerate the dry, roots like that probably store a lot of water. But it did make it hard to plant them - how do I know I got enough dirt between those thick roots and didn't leave big air pockets? I don't know, really.
I hope they do well because even though the website price was reasonable, it still wasn't cheap to buy three of them. They look a bit floppy at the moment but I think they'll settle in before long, and I might add more soil as the dirt settles in around their roots.
And just so you know, this is what they should look like by next summer. Stunning, isn't it?