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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Summer of Lily of the Nile

In the month of May, shooting up from large clumps of leathery green, strappy, vertical leaves, comes a very tall scape with a lone green bud atop.

Awaiting inside that bud is a compacted ball of small flowers. Over the course of the following days, before your very eyes, that puff of bloom burst out into lavender orbs 6 and 7 " in diameter.

Standing majestically, anywhere from 4-5' above the evergreen plant that nurtured the bud, the agapanthus or lily of the nile continues to evolve into an even more glorious bloom as each one of the tiny buds magically opens to become so many tiny flowers merging into one on each strong stalk.

Last autumn I divided up almost every existing agapanthus plant and scattered them all over the back garden beds at Hoe and Shovel. Happily there were scapes still popping out of the mother plant even into July this summer.

With some locations in parital sun and some in almost full sun, it created a wave of blooms from late spring until late summe; each tall mass of purple lasting 4-6 weeks. While some were just coming into bloom, others were beginning to turn to seed. This meant there were new blooms as late as late July while some of the May/June blooms were beginning to drop their purplie flowers.
In years past I had automatically clipped the fading green heads off at the ground much like we dead head any other perennial.
This year I found out that removing spent blooms isn't necessary with agapanthus since they are only one-time bloomers. For the first time ever, I have thoroughly appreciated each stage of this southern beauty. I even clipped off several of the green mop-heads to create a striking fresh arrangement that was a favorite of mine this summer.
Equally interesting has been the final stage of this remarkable flower when it dries to tan and black. In the garden in late August and September only the green drooping seed heads and these very spent blooms are visible.
As soon as the air gives me a little break with some cooler temps, I'll be dividing the existing plants to multiply the bounty of blooms for next year.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Happy gardening, Meems


  1. sometimes it takes years to come to appreciate all of the stages of plant life. this is a most beautiful bloom in your garden and now by dividing you will have even more to enjoy. such a smart gardener you are.

  2. I absolutely love this plant Meems. When I first started gardening, many years ago, I bought one of these plants not realizing that it wasn't a perrennial here. I was so disappointed. A lesson learned though. I can just imagine the lovely clumps of blue wafting over your garden this season.

  3. I really love Agapanthus and just realized this year that some of them are hardy in my area. I will have to add this wonderful plant to my garden. I love shades of purple. Great post Meems!

  4. Oh my, these are beautiful!! I've never seen them before. Guess you know what's on my shopping list now. :-)

  5. Have you ever harvested the seeds from this flower? Will they come up from those seeds? I collected mine but have no idea what they look like unless they are very small & black.

  6. I've had agapanthus for two years now and it's a disaster. i get a few small leaves and that's it. They just sit there doing nothing for the summer. No idea what i'm doing wrong ...

  7. Hi Meems.....I love agapanthus....what a joy to watch them to through all the stages......

  8. The Agapanthus are lovely. They belong to my favourites in spring. I always let them seed and then get different blues from dark to very light. The white Agapanthus is very pretty too and there is a very dark purple one. Some are tiny. I think they are called "baby blue" and make lovely borders.

  9. So beutiful!!!! I also have this lilly of the nile....

  10. Meems I will have to look that Bromeliad up again. The people at the Tropical Plants Library were having a hard time identifying it as well. Didn't put it together you and marmee, that's great.

  11. Oh my stars!! This post and the last just beautiful....Just imagine what heaven must be like!!!!

  12. Those are so lovely. I have debated trying to grow them here. I would have to bring the bulbs in over the winter. I think they may be worth the extra effort.

  13. marmee; you are so right... with each passing gardening year, I've learned new things and my eyes are continually being opened to new wonders I didn't appreciate in the past. Oh, the joys of gardening!

    lisa: You know... we don't have too many opporutnities for really striking perennials down here... at least not the kind that shoot up from the mother plant to give us color 4 feet in the air. Fortunately this one is suited perfectly for our climate.

    pgl: absolutely you will want to add this to your list. If you start out with a couple and divide them each year to make more ... well, pretty soon you might have a sea of purple.

    greenjeans: I'm kind of surprised you don't see these everywhere. There are more colors than I have... a darker purple and white. Also a dwarf plant. I'm thinking I'll keep mine monochromatic but I do like all the other colors too.

    lola: Since this is the first year I've ever let them go to seed I haven't exactly harvested them. But what I have done is scatter them ... in a very willy nilly sort of fashin. I figured what do I have to lose? I'm guessing the seeds are the flat black flecks visible inside the pods once they are dried???

    Hi Sue: well, I don't know what zone you are in but I've read they actually like being in containers and being tightly planted. The only time they like lots of water is during bloom time... otherwise normal amounts of water. I do hope yours will perform for you at some point. The leaves are really nice for texture I think... if that's any consolation.

  14. cheryl: Do you grow them in England? There aren't many flowers that like to be left on the stem when they go to seed... in this case I'm was happy to be informed correctly about them.

    Titania: I'm glad to know you let yours go to seed as well. Maybe you could give us all some tips on what you do with your seeds???? Are you saying you've gotten the different colors from harvesting your seeds?

    Linda: Hi and thanks for stopping by. I'm thinking you must grow this in a greenhouse or maybe in a container.

    Darla: Thank you. I've looked up the name of that bromeliad before but I can't remember it. Just thought you might know off hand. Surely heaven will not have mosquitoes or weeds! OR HUMIDITY!

    Marnie: I know you northerners are used to "bringing things in for the winter." With blogging and learning of how things are done 'up north' I often wonder if I'd be willing to go to the bother. I guess if you aren't gardening at all in the winter it would be completely different than gardening all year long like we do. Anyway, if YOU are willing it would be a nice addition to your already beautiful gardens.

  15. dear meems,

    I didn't mean to neglect our morning coffee in the garden, just this inconvenient head cold has kept me close to home! So good morning. Your Agapanthus photos are lovely; it is a stunning plant! We see it in Nashville in older gardens; usually in containers. I think it would look lovely tucked here and there in my garden. I will have to use your technique with the containers, it may not like clay and limestone! Plus it would add some dramatic height! The color is perfect. Lavender blue?

    Getting this plant may be the perfect medicine!

    Have a lovely day!


  16. Maybe the bromeliad is Aechmea allenii? That's the closest I could come to finding it, after looking at 185 of them.

  17. Stunning photos! New to Blotanical and found you this a.m. Wonderful blog.

  18. gail, good morning to you.. a day later. I've been so busy the last week ... no time for blogging. I'm heading out of town today so who knows when I'll have a chance to get back to it. Maybe while I'm gone... will have laptop in tow. I sure hope you are feeling better. No fun to have your head all stopped up.

    The agapanthus may be just what you need! It is a lavender blue. Different stages, different light show it off in varied hues. Really this is one of my all time favorites for THIS garden anyway. Very easy to grow and easy to maintain with lots of flair for the money. You can't beat that.
    Have a great day... and feel better. Always happy when you drop by.

  19. Got a gift for ya!!! You just have to visit and pick it up.

  20. Darla, you are so sweet to try to figure out the name of that bromeliad. I think your guess is definitely close but I hate to say it I don't think that is it exactly. I have also looked through dozens of photos and not found the exact one. If we both keep trying surely we will stumble upon it???? Have a great day.

    Barbarapc: Welcome... so glad you found Hoe&Shovel and Blotanical. Blotanical hasn't been working for me for over a week and I pretty much have given up on it. I'll try back today to see if their technical problems are fixed. You are going to love all the great garden blogs you will find. I'll be over to visit you very soon.

  21. I love Agapanthus Meems. Very cool that you decided to leave the spent blooms. They are really beautiful in every stage. Hope you get some volunteer seedlings from the seeds you scattered!

  22. Meems; after collecting the seeds I plant them in a seed rising mixture. They germinate readily. I pot them on after the first leaf appears. I plant them out when they are sturdy and about 15 cm high. Usually I get different pretty blue hues.

  23. I just cut off the spent flower stalk of my Agapanthus the other day. It looked pretty good all summer, well after the petals fell off.

    On Friday, I found one that's hardy here. I didn't even know such a thing existed. But they were grown in Michigan and if they can survive the winter there, then they should be able to here as well. We will see!


Have a blessed day,

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