Garden Diary - April 2012

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Monday, 23 April 2012
Holland in Tulip Time: Dainty Miniature Hippeastrums

At Hein's nursery in Voorhout I was enchanted by some miniature hippeastrum
he had flowering in his office, little pots. Not bonsai hippeastrum. True dwarfs.

Sonatini are miniature amaryllis that typically produce two flower stems per bulb, three to four dainty flowers only 2.3 to 4 inches in diameter on each stem. They're supposed to be hardy to zone 5 if planted 6-8 inches deep and well mulched for winter.

Sonatini hippeastrum were hybridized / by Andre Barnhoorn. Formerly a director for Hadeco RSA, he returned to the Netherlands 10 or 15 years ago. Now living in Noordwijkerhout, he is hybridizing and field testing these charming little hippeastrum for the Dutch climate. Mr. Leenen is propagating, growing on, and selling the bulbs, where I saw even more at his nursery. Sold by HadecoŽ in South Africa -but only in UK and Europe, alas, not in the United States. I should ask if they would like me to trial Sonatini here in New Jersey . . . .

Here, an attractive clear red with a crisp white star in the throat.
This is, I believe, the cultivar 'Bright Star'. Elegant.

Soft pink, penciled with darker rose pink, and a green throat.
'Bellisimo' by name, bellisimo by nature.

A cream colored Sonatini with a blush of pink. 'Peach Blossom'
opens with a pink flower which fades to soft yellow. Just charming.

Comment: Not sure about availability in the United States but I certainly intend to try and obtain some whether to trial in the garden or just grow in a pot. I think their size, proportions, flowers are just charming.

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