Colour flowers stars of quarry show

Plant breeders Judy Coenen and Ian Duncalf with one of their joint clivia crosses. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Colourful clivia will be the stars of their own show on Sunday, October 1, at the Te Puna Quarry Park where local growers and breeders will be on hand to talk about the fascinating plants.

Among them will be Judy Coenen whose interest in clivias got serious about 10 years ago – and now the Bay of Plenty gardener has thousands of plants.

“It starts as a hobby, then it's a passion and before you know it, it's an obsession,” she says. “Then you find yourself importing seed from Japan and South Africa, seed that's really expensive so you promise yourself not to do it again but then the next catalogue arrives … and every seed is a gamble because there's no guarantee what you're going to get.”

Judy, who lives at Apata, and well-known Te Puna plant breeder Ian Duncalf laughingly dispute which of them has contributed most to a crop of seedlings crossed from Judy's green-throated Clivia Kiwi Star and one of Ian's early-flowering clivias. “It's interesting because there's such a big colour variation in the resulting plants,” she says.

“Kiwi Star is an exceptional plant,” Ian says. “These seedlings are all producing two spikes each and they're only young plants.”

He's impressed by the large planting of clivias beside and underneath the Tauranga approaches to the Harbour Bridge. “They've had every kind of weather thrown at them this year – including lots of rain for the exposed plants – and they're all looking good. We always say they're great plants for dry shade but the plants in the open have done just as well.”

Ian is soon to send more in-flower clivia for display in Singapore's Gardens by the Bay after a successful first shipment last year, as well as Velthemia bulbs and Alstroemeria Rock 'n Roll, a plant he developed.

“Clivia do really well in Singapore and repeat flower but the gardens don't have any room to hold them until they need them again so when they want new plants they buy more.

“With hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors a day they have a huge budget.”

Clivia Show, Sunday, October 1, noon-4pm, Te Puna Quarry Park, free entry. Plants for sale and a chance to talk to local growers and breeders.


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