Winter sun and the Freudian strawberry

The return of the Friday Geeky Plant Post.

Wednesday this week was very cold but sunny. I woke to a light scattering of snow and a sharp frost but by 9:30 A the sun was shining on the greenhouse and it reached 20C inside. Very pleasant. I had taken the day off to draw and do art-business stuff, but spent a pleasant hour taking these photos in the greenhouse first:


Romulea is one of several genera with a disjunct distribution. I will write a blog post on this topic one day. But basically it has a number of species in Europe and a lot of species in South Africa, with very little in between.

Romulea resemble Crocus, to which they are related, but differ in having their flowers at the tip of above-ground stems, whereas Crocus stems remain below ground but the flower has a tubular base which looks like a stem and raises the flower up.

The South African species are the largest and most colourful, whereas the European species are more subdued. There is even a species in the UK (Romulea columnae) which is tiny and muted in colour.

On Wednesday I was able to illustrate the contrast nicely. This first species is the South African Romulea luteoflora with flowers around 8cm in diameter. The two photos show the variation within the species – one specimen has broader, overlapping, petals.

This next is the European Romulea linaresii ssp graeca. Only 2cm in diameter. I had actually stopped growing this but odd ones pop up in other pots as it self-seeds prolifically.

To show the contrast in size – here are pics with a finger for scale:

Another South African species: Romulea tetragona, ‘tetragona’ refers to the four-cornered leaves:


I am very fond of the dwarf daffodils and grow many of them. January is the month when the hoop-petticoat types are peaking. Some forms of Narcissus cantabricus and its hybrids flower before Christmas but these two very dwarf ones from seed from different wild populations. The second one is especially lovely with its wide ‘petunioid’ flowers:

The closely related N. romieuxii varies from pale lemon to bright yellow. This potful is a robust pale flowered form:

The smallest of the hoop-petticoat daffodils is the tricky-to-grow and not exactly showy N. hedraeanthus:

Moving away from hoop-petticoat daffodils to the trumpet types, this is the tiny species N. asturiensis:

Odds ‘n sods

Crocus cvijicii:

Leontice minor was shown last week but is more advanced now. This is one of the tuberous members of the berberis family – which are usually spiny shrubs:

Nothoscordum dialystemon is a South American bulb, distantly related to onions. It has a lovely scent of roses:

Hesperantha humilis opened flowers in the warmth again. Never saw this fully open until this year but now it has been twice πŸ™‚

The Freudian strawberry:

Started drawing the half-strawberry to go with the full one I did last week. In some respects it was unfortunate that I started colouring from the centre…


  1. Ooh you are so lucky to have all these flowers even in winter. The Narcissus look like little angels, a very pretty flower. You already that I love your half-strawberry but reading about it made me smile again. Freudian and a bit naughty indeed. Have a lovely weekend Darren. xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I just love your flower posts. I’m here surrounded by snow with more to come. The temps are supposed to -22C in soon. And here are the gorgeous plants in your greenhouse. Even though the temps warm up during the day, how do they survive freezing temps overnight? Or, did you take these pics during warmer times? Enquiring minds want to know! Enquiring hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Linda😍

      Well our minimum outdoor temp so far this winter was -3c. On nights like that I run a heater to keep it over freezing in the greenhouse but really it only happens a few nights a year. Often it is dull weather so we don’t warm up much on those days either. Typical winter temp range is from 0 to 10c. On sunny days like the day I took those pics last week it can get much warmer in the greenhouse during the day but still drop to close to freezing at night. It helps that a lot of the things I show are winter growers. Horticultural hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If I were a plant in your greenhouse, I think I would be very confused. Temps up down and all around! Whatever you do is certainly paying off, though. You have the loveliest flower collection I have ever seen…and that’s saying A LOT!! Up and down hugs! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Love the hoop-petticoat daffodils!! Never saw them before! So glad to hear you find time for your art, Darren!! That’s wonderful! And the strawberry is quite naughty indeed! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

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