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Clivia

Articles: Clivia

A humble orange clivia glows like the sun. Photo: Mary Gutierrez

During the short, dim winter days in the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard to get a good gardening fix. Winter unfolds in a long, bleak stretch after the new year with only brief glimpses of the sun—great if you grow moss. But when my clivia blossoms begin to emerge at the end of February they brighten my greenhouse and my spirits, helping me hang on until spring arrives in Seattle.

[pullquote]The warmth of clivia gets this gardener through the dark months.[/pullquote]

Clivia miniata first crossed my radar when White Flower Farm offered the yellow-flowered clone ‘Sir John Thouron’ in their spring 1995 catalog. The New York Times ran a story on it. Big buzz in gardening circles. At the time, only orange-flowered clivias were available to the average American gardener; the yellow bloom was rare. I’m sure I was not alone in wondering who would pay $950 for a yellow-flowered agapanthus cousin. Fast-forward 15-odd years and here I sit, a clivia fancier.

In the nearly two decades since ‘Sir John’ arrived, dedicated breeders and hobbyists have cont...

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