Local growing conditions
Our nursery is situated in a valley almost at the base of the Magaliesberg Mountains, a range that is almost 100 times older than Mount Everest in the summer rainfall region in the transitional zone between bushveld and grassland (prone to fire caused huge lightning strikes, high temperatures and of course deliberately started fires).
The soil is very clayey (red clay) rich in nutrients but not good for large scale bulb production! Moles and porcupines have become a problem particularly with regard to Gladioli and Hemerocallis. Winters are short & dry. The days are quite warm and the nights can be freezing with black frost, never snow but in the 2 decades that we have been here, the winters have become shorter and much warmer.
“ The vegetation consists of some trees, shrubs, grasses, few aloes and some bulbs which include Ledebouria, Tulbaghia, Boophone, Hypoxis, Agapanthus, Eriospermum. ”
Summers are long, incredibly hot with average rainfall but prolonged drought and heatwave are becoming too common. We grow winter rainfall bulb species very successfully for the most part and many are exposed to some summer rain although we do try and limit the amount of rain they are exposed to, to the minimum.
The biggest problem is the heat, particularly for those grown under fibreglass sheeting or in the greenhouse. Unfortunately the winters are becoming just too short and too warm and that does affect germination rates of the winter species as well as the general production of winter bulbs as the growing time is shorter than what it should be because it gets so incredibly hot here already from early August! This has influenced our decision to relocate the nursery to the Cape in the near future as the production of winter rainfall bulbs is central to our company.