Sunday, June 16, 2013

Peacock Orchid

Last spring I planted a new-to-me bulb, the Peacock Orchid.  I loved its blooms.  But I also loved its spiky, grass-like foliage.


This spring, I planted many, many more of these bulbs.  The foliage is a great contrast to the roses in my garden.


I would plant them just for their foliage, but a bonus is their blooms.  They are just now beginning to bloom in my garden.  Unfortunately, there is a problem.  The bulbs from last year didn't return.  I don't know why.  Peacock orchid is also known as Sword Lily, Abyssinian Gladiolus, or Gladiolus murielae, and is hardy in zones 7 though 11.

Peacock orchid

I'm hoping they will return next year.  If not, I will have to make a decision:  Either make do without their fabulous foliage and beautiful blooms.  Or treat the bulbs as an annual.  


But I don't have to decide right now.  For now, I'll just enjoy.  The blooms and the foliage.

I'm joining Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-Up.

58 comments:

  1. Gosh, I hope they will come back for you--they are special. Both the blooms and the foliage, as you say! And they do look great with your Roses!

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    1. Last year, I only planted a few, so I was a bit disappointed when they didn't come back. But this year I planted a LOT of them, so if they don't return, I may not try again. I'm hoping they will come back. I do love the way they look, whether they're blooming or not.

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    2. Hey Holley: I posted a book review a few days early. I'll link in later. Cheers!

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    3. Fabulous! I'll have the meme up later tonight! :)

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  2. They are so beautiful. This bulb can't stand any frost. In Holland is the advice to get it out of the soil late autumn break of the folliage and roots, dry them for a week at a cool place and save the bulbs untill next year at a forstfree and dry place. I hope it will help you save your wonderful flowers.
    Happy gardening and have a wonderful day.

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    1. I didn't realize they were so very tender. I'm afraid I'm too lazy to dig up bulbs, so I may not plant any more of them. I'll try to find something else to take their place. Thanks for the information.

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  3. Holley, I had grown Abyssinian Gladiolus in container. I stored the bulbs in cool place in winter. But the next spring the Abyssinian Gladiolus didn't bloom as well. I decided not to plant them more.

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    1. Putting them in a pot sounds like a good idea. But like you, I will probably decide not to plant any more. I don't like things that are so particular!

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  4. Ah yes - I have grown, loved and lost this plant. I tried a thick mulch over it when we had a walled garden and one plant came through the winter. I think I would try for the digging up and drying with the insurance policy of a few bulbs on order. Would it be the end of the world if the bulbs came through the winter and you ended up with more of these beautiful glads?

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    1. I am much too lazy of a garden to be digging up bulbs and re-planting them. Much easier to find a plant that will be happy and return on its own!

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  5. Enjoy indeed Holley! We find it difficult to get this bulb establish in our garden.

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    1. Obviously, it's not an easy bulb! Too bad - I just love it, but I'm not into digging and storing.

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  6. They really are glorious, but do need a warm winter to survive. They do best in zones 7a to 11 apparently.

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    1. We did have a late freeze this spring. Perhaps that's why the older bulbs did not return.

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  7. That is a shame they didn't return much like gladiolas here. I had to decide am I planting them every year...if worth it then definitely and these seem worth it.

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    1. I am not really into doing something every year. I like to plant once. Of course, these are lovely....

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  8. Very pretty. Even prettier in person. I had some and one year moved them and they did not come back the next year.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They really are quite beautiful in person. I love how their little blooms nod their heads.

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  9. I live in zone 8 and they have never even bloomed for me, much less come back! I guess if you don't see them in anyone else's garden that should be a clue-LOL.

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    1. There's a lot of things I grow that I don't see in anyone else's garden. But, then again, I don't know a lot of gardeners, except for the blogging kind. :) I will not count on their return next year since you and I live in the same zone. Too bad. They are so sweet.

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  10. I agree about the foliage being fabulous, and the flower is very characterful. I suppose bulbs can be annuals, if they have an identity crisis?

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    1. I guess you're right! They would have to have an identity crisis! :) I will treat them like tulips, which are planted as annuals here since they don't get the cold they need to return.

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  11. What an interesting flower. I've never seen that one before.

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    1. it's amazing what one picks up with an unplanned purchase or two! ;)

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  12. They are beautiful ;) I heard somewhere that orchid bulbs tend to rot if there is too much rain or if it's too cold. I would take them out in the autumn and plant them back in spring. Or plant them in pot and schlep it around :D

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    1. I think I could see myself planting them in pots. But not digging them up - I'm just too lazy for that!

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  13. I use iris foliage and crocosmia the same way-- the sword-like fans are such a great upright, broad contrast to other plants around them. And the blooms are a bonus. Your pretty gladiolus is new to me, but what a delicate, sweet flower on top of that strong foliage.

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    1. I don't have any crocosmia. I've heard it can get huge, but maybe I should research it a little more. I do like this type of foliage to contrast with the roses.

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  14. Wow, very distinctive and dramatic. I had not seen this before, I'll check it out but I'm guessing it is not hardy in my zone.

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    1. Obviously, it's actually not hardy in any zone! I don't think anyone has said that it will return unassisted!

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  15. I love these peacock orchids, funny name, we call them Abysinian gladiolus. In our country they only start flowering end of July, August. In October we dig them up and store them on a cool, but dry place. In April we plant them again. Their scent is also delicious.

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    1. I thought these were really supposed to bloom later, but I guess our spring gets warm so early, it thinks that autumn is near!

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  16. Wonderful foliage and beautiful blooms! Who could ask for anything more?

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  17. Sometimes, they come back here in my zone 6b garden. Other times, they don't. I love the spiky foliage too, and those flowers are like nothing else. Happy Foliage-ing.~~Dee

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    1. Ah, someone with a bit of success! I will just have to keep my fingers crossed! :)

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  18. From what I understand you need to dig these up in the fall, even if you are technically in the hardiness zone. Sounds as if they need to be treated like tulips - i.e, consider them annuals!

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    1. I am beginning to get that general idea. :( Too bad. I know me, and I will never go to all the trouble of digging them up!

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  19. So pretty! My usual trouble with bulbs is that they triple in size in a season, but I realize that orchids are different than our irises and crinums.
    I hope they return for you.

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    1. I hope they will return. I suppose I will count on them NOT returning, and if they do, it will be a sweet surprise!

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  20. this is on my list for sure!!!

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  21. It is very pretty foliage and a very pretty flower. I sure hope they come back for you. I'm using regular-old-irises for my pointy foliage, but it's cool that the flowering time of these is different.

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    1. I have lot of irises, too. I was just wanting something a bit different. Will just have to keep looking, I guess.

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  22. Quite lovely ! Double whammy - good architectural foliage AND good flowers ! Is the rose which is photo-bombing 'Charles Darwin ' ?

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  23. Beautiful if only for a year :-)

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    1. It will make me really appreciate them this year!

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  24. Good reminder to think about foilage when designing a garden. Now I'm living in zone 8 instead of Zone 3 I can start thinking about peacock orchids. The name alone is fabulous.

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    1. What a change! It will be fun to design a garden with new plants you can now grow!

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  25. Holley, I think you are on to something! The contrast in that one photo of the vertical, narrow leaves with the horizontal, rounded roses belongs in a garden magazine. Look out for fame....it's coming to knock on your door!
    David/:0)

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    1. I do like the difference in foliage texture. Oh, I so hope they will come back next year, although according to the commenters, I will probably be disappointed! :(

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  26. Gorgeous! I've seen Abyssinian glads for sale online but they always show a close-up of the flowers. I didn't realize that the foliage was so pretty, too! Might have to give these a shot...

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  27. Had the same thing happen to me last year with a couple of bulbs I got at the dollar store. Similar flower. Marked the place with a stick but nothing came back at that stick this year.

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  28. I have the same lilies! I didn't know they were called peacock lily. Mine just started to bloom. I really love them and hope they come back. I planted them last fall and they've made it through one winter already. I've read that they need strong drainage so that may be why yours didn't come back.

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  29. Oh, those lilies are just lovely, I hope they come back again for you.

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