Published: August 31, 2022

Coming back from this year’s bus trip, I was asked how I managed to get Dieramas to flower. My response was that not only do they flower for me but that they were a nuisance in that they seed themselves everywhere and that I constantly had to weed them out.

My first sight of a stunning display of Dieramas was in Ireland, in the original Ernest Shackletons garden in Beechpark, Consilla. Such an array of colour swaying in the breeze.

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So it was a sad time when Daphne Shackleton moved from Beechpark to her new home at Lakeview. Although I have to say that I have also visited her new garden at Lakeview and it is quite lovely.

(Just spotted an article re the Beechpark garden in one of the Irish newspapers, with a photograph of the now derelict garden, and it seems that Beechpark is to receive a grant of about one quarter of a million Euros to be restored, so that’s excellent news)

After visiting I just had to have one or two Dieramas. I ended up with far too many; they seemed to like my garden and seeded everywhere.

The best way to acquire Dieramas, in my experience, is to grow them from seed -Plant World Seed in Devon, excellent value for money and a huge variety to choose from. Of course I also bought some named varieties, but when you tip them from their pots, you only get one or two
corms, so they work out quite costly. I did purchase the popular Blackbird -one of the darkest and Lancelot and Guinevere, more for their romantic names (a great marketing ploy!) than their garden worthiness.

After a few years, of getting their feet under the table, they all seem to take off and take over!! I couldn’t move for Dieramas. After flowering they were messy and their inviting mounds of grassy hummocks encouraged the neighbouring cats to leave me presents.

You guessed it -time to go! Well, not all, I had, by this time acquired some very nice seedlings, one very tall pale off-white one with a pink strip, and some very unusual coloured ones -they could stay.

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The following year, they were a real miss. All those gorgeous flowers blowing in the wind and it is very windy in my garden. I nostalgically remembered how Dieramas didn’t suffer with wind damage and how they formed a special display in July when lots of plants had done their stuff and others were slow to start.

No, I didn’t need to go out and buy more, they just kept appearing. Seedlings from the original plants.

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What now?

Well, I intend to leave well alone this year, as they look lovely. In fact they seem to be more architectural than I remember before, forming such well structured clumps, and the seed heads blowing in the wind look good.

I will collect some of the seed to give to friends/members.

In the meantime, the HPS member, who started this conversation, informs me that her Dierama have flowered this year, which constantly proves that plants make liars of us. For instance, you tell someone that a particular plant is doing well and when you next look, it has croaked or developed some problem. You tell someone that a plant is on its last legs and it makes such a remarkable recovery and flowers!

On a garden visit earlier this year, I was saying that the remaining half of my Kniphofias hadn’t flowered for the second year in a row, and that they would be consigned to the compost bin -or in my case Hotbin. Guess what, I have flowers on all of them, although some of them have only produced one flower, but one flower is better than none. I surmise that, being South African in origin, the recent spell of hot weather has encouraged them to flower and that when we go back to our usual cold and rain they will once more take the huff!

Maggie Duguid

Text and photos by Maggie Duguid, who is a member of the HPS North East Group.