Sunday 12 June 2011

A welcome wet day

The garden in rain.
 It has rained steadily all day: very frustrating no doubt for all those opening their gardens today, but actually very welcome after so long with so little rain. Welcome not only for its replenishment of soil moisture, but for the enforced 'indoorsness': with no temptation to go out there has been plenty of time to catch up with paperwork, correspondence and so forth, which is rather important.

I've taken time, also, to look at a few horticultural websites. However much one thinks one is familiar with the range of plants available or possible, there is always something to be surprised about. Today's revelation was the website of Siam Adenium, a Thai nursery specializing in the succulent genus Adenium (Apocynaceae). The five or so species are found in arid parts of Africa and Arabia and are all pretty much variations on a theme: the stems vary in obesity and the flowers in shape and colour, but are basically pink or white and pink. Siam Adenium has taken their breeding and selection to an extraordinary level of development, however, producing flowers in shades from yellow to almost black, some having bluish tints, and in a range of single and double flowers - an incredible achievement documented in full on their website, from which the two images below are taken.

One of the new releases for 2011 from Siam Adenium

I doubt that these exotic beauties will ever become very widely known here, but I'm sure that in the tropics they have a great future and I'd love to have the chance to see them at their best. I've been fortunate enough to see Adenium in  Tanzania, Socotra and Yemen and it's always special to find, not only because it's a characterful plant with stumpy little branches emerging from a fat and often misshapen trunk, and hopefully a mass of flowers on top, but also because it is usually in joyously wild habitat - and I'd really prefer to think of Adenium as an untrammelled wild thing, not a pampered jade of Asia.

With Adenium obesum in Yemen, 1999 (img: M. Zwaan)


  1. "I'd really prefer to think of Adenium as an untrammelled wild thing, not a pampered jade of Asia."

    Well said!

    Thailand seems to be a hotbed of plant hybridization these days--they have variegated Agaves of all species and crosses which are unavailable here, as well as some amazing Haworthias and Bromeliads. Is there a college program turning out all these horticulturalists?

  2. I'm a fan of handsome horticulturalists.

  3. A friend purchased seeds last year from the Siam Adenium nusery and has a marvellous collection of these Adeniums. Unfortunately his light stand fell over 2 weeks ago so the labels are in disarray. He gave me 4 seedlings last year with names and they have started growing again this last month. Should I expect them to come true from seed?

    john in Nova Scotia

  4. In Brunei where I live, Adeniums are very popular. To successfully grow them in a tropical climate they are cultivated in pots in pure charcoal; no other soil components are added, thus ensuring perfect drainage.

  5. These Adeniums are also sold in the UK by Stuart Pointon at he usually has around 120 different varieties in stock as well as seeds.

  6. well can i have some in exchange with other seed.


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