Friday, February 25, 2011

Gazania linearis

This cold hardy gazania was grown from seed, though the same thing is often marketed as "Colorado Gold" in better nurseries. It grows in the high Drakensberg mountains of South Africa, and is reliably perennial by all accounts in places like Denver, though winter wetness may be a more significant problem for its survival as a perennial here in NY. I will soon find out if they made it through our winter as the snowpack melts (and if the voles that apparently were eating things in parts of the school garden, protected from predators by the consistent snow cover, missed them). In any case, they are easy to grow from seeds as annuals too, but it takes more than one plant to set seed, as all gazanias in my experience are self infertile. I've also made some interesting hybrids with this species and other gazania species and cultivars, and hope to flower many more of them this year as well as to test them for cold hardiness. Gazanias do require good sun, and the flowers won't open without full sunshine. Unfortunately, they are edible and can be attacked by rabbits and presumably other herbivores, but deterrents of the same order as used to repel deer, as well as interplanting with less tasty/toxic neighbors, do repel herbivores.

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