I recently found this adorable little surprise in my garden poking up from between some wild marjoram. As always with most bulbs, I had completely forgotten planting them and am always a little shocked when they appear. Having to battle gophers and clay soil that stays extremely wet in the winter, I assume that most bulbs won't be back. In the case of this little beauty I was even more surprised because these were throw away plants from a local nursery. Having finished blooming in their tiny little pots, they were destined for the landfill. I figured at the very least, I could give them a proper burial in my yard.
So when the bloom of the Babiana stricta greeted me the other morning, I smiled. You certainly can't beat that gorgeous blue color. A native of the African sub Sahara, these bulbs grow and bloom after the winter rains after which they prefer a bit of dryness in their dormancy. Luckily for me, I guessed correctly and planted them in a more drought tolerant section of my garden. Nicknamed the Baboon Flower, because baboons find the small corms quite tasty, they are normally planted in the fall in warm winter climates or early spring where winters are colder. If their summer dormancy requirements can be met in the ground, the plants can be left in to grow and naturalize (this particular plant has doubled in size since last year). In areas where winter ground freezes, they should be lifted after the foliage has died off and kept in a cool, dry location until the proper planting time.
In addition to this vibrant blue color, Babianas also come in white, lavender and a blue-white bicolor.