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Southern African Bulb Group

The Autumn meeting is on Sunday 23rd October 2016

Newsletter no. 33 (August 2016) is now available

Autumn 2016 meeting

The Autumn meeting of the Southern African Bulb Group will be on Sunday 23rd October 2016, at Badger Farm Community Centre, Winchester, UK. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and the meeting will finish at approximately 4:00 p.m.

The speaker for the morning session at approximately 11:00 will be Nick Wray, the curator of Bristol University Botanic Garden, who will give us a talk on Distribution of bulbous plants in the Western Cape.

All who are interested in growing these plants will be welcome. There is an entry fee of £3.00, but parking is free. There will as usual be a plant display table, photos, short talks, plant sales (a good reason to arrive soon after 10:00!), and tea and coffee with biscuits. You are encouraged to bring along any plants you wish to display or sell, or digital photos to share with the audience. Bring your own lunch, or buy something at Sainsbury's next door.

More information about our meetings, the location and directions are shown on our meetings page.

Future meetings

  • SABG members are invited to the Exbury Nerine Visit Day on Saturday 15th October 2016 organised by the Nerine and Amaryllid Society at the Five Arrows gallery, Exbury House gardens, Exbury, Southampton SO45 1AX, by kind invitation of Nicholas de Rothschild and Theo Herselman. See the NAAS events page and please inform the NAAS secretary if you wish to attend.
  • Our next SABG meeting is planned for Sunday 23rd October 2016. Nick Wray, the curator of Bristol University Botanic Garden, will give a talk. More details of the meeting are given above and on the meetings page.
  • The next SABG meeting after that will be on Sunday 2nd April 2017, when Bob Charman will talk about his trip to Patagonia.

Latest newsletters


  • The annual Bulb & Seed Exchange for 2016 has now closed. If you have requested seeds or bulbs, you should be receiving them soon. Please refer to Newsletter 33 for details. The full list of bulbs and seeds was sent to members, and is also available in a simplified form here: Bulb & Seed Exchange 2016.
    (Those previously available in 2015 can be seen here: Bulb & Seed Exchange 2015. The next Bulb & Seed Exchange will probably take place during August and September 2017.) [Richard White, 04/10/2016]
  • If you were interested in the mountain flora of Ethiopia after Jonathan Hutchinson's talk at the Spring 2016 meeting, have a look at a 358-page book which is available on-line as a 6.5-megabyte PDF file which you can download: Aloes and Lilies of Ethiopia and Eritrea: various bulbs, especially Scadoxus, are mentioned in the introduction to the mountain areas on page 22 onwards. Species of various bulbous families are described later in the book. [Richard White, 19/01/2016]
  • I'm experimenting with a new version of our SABG web-site. It will hopefully look smarter and more modern, make it easier to maintain and update, and in due course make it possible for members to contribute directly. [Richard White, 03/10/2015]

Autumn 2014 display table
The display table at our Autumn meeting in October 2014, showing a variety of species of Nerine, Lachenalia, Massonia, Empodium and other genera.
[Click here for a larger version, which might let you read the labels]
(Richard White, 12 October 2014)

About the Group

The SABG is based in the UK and is for anyone interested in growing the beautiful and diverse bulbous plants of South Africa and neighbouring countries. You do not need to be an expert (I'm not!) or live in the UK, but our meetings have all been in England so far.

The objective of the Southern African Bulb Group is to further the understanding of the cultivation of Southern African bulbs, where 'bulbs' is used in the broad sense to encompass bulb-, corm- and tuber- possessing Southern African plants, which are mostly 'monocots' (plants with strap-like leaves and flower parts in threes or sixes) but also including 'dicots' (with broad leaves and frequently five-petalled flowers) such as Oxalis.

Many of these plants come from the former Cape Province, now the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, and are easy to grow in a cool greenhouse or a sunny conservatory or window sill. They usually provide colourful flowers in autumn and winter and need a dry period in summer, because they are winter growers. Some are summer growers and a few of these will grow outside in southern or sheltered parts of the UK, such as Agapanthus, some Nerines and Tulbaghias, etc. Others, like Lachenalia, are real jewels to brighten up your conservatory when not much else is in flower.

Further information


To join the group, or to enquire about joining:
Rodney Sims

To enquire about the newsletter or web site, to send suggestions for additions and improvements, or to submit items for inclusion:
Richard White
Veltheimia sp.
The flower spike of Veltheimia sp. in my conservatory in Hampshire. This plant may be V. bracteata or V. capensis or a hybrid between the two.
(Richard White, 28 March 2014)

Nerine filifolia
Nerine filifolia in the new conservatory at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town.

(Richard White, April 2006)

Lachenalia pustulata
Lachenalia pustulata in cultivation in Hampshire, UK.

(Richard White)

Haemanthus coccineus
Three plants of Haemanthus coccineus in April 2006, growing in a very stony soil at Cape L'Agulhas, the southernmost point of the continent of Africa, within a few yards of both the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

(Richard White, April 2006)

Copyright © 2016 by the Southern African Bulb Group. All rights reserved.
This page was last edited by Richard White on 13th October 2016.