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Thousand Suns

Thousand Suns is a group of orange/pastel plants that I consider absolutely outstanding. They have amazing qualities including being vigorous, with tall, strong peduncles, attractive leaves, large flowers mostly with wide, recurved tepals, vivid colours and are well bred. The plants in this series are crossed together to create a new generation of show quality orange plants.

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Orange is the new black

The chances are that the Clivia that hooked you and turned you into an obsessive enthusiast was orange. I know my one was. I didn’t even know there were other colours. I just saw this orange Clivia miniata flowering and thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was determined to own one. I went onto ebay and bought an orange Clivia and was a bit shocked when it turned up in the mail. The seller had cut off all the roots and all the leaves. It looked like a stick of celery. Obviously the seller did not know anything about Clivia and thought it was like an Iris where it is ok to cut off all extremities. I planted the poor thing and it still managed to flower a month later. The flower embryo would have developed prior to the butchery the plant endured.

As I gradually become aware that there were other colours, I just had to have one of each. I went crazy on ebay and bought as many different types and colours as I could, and I am sure other enthusiasts can relate to this.

My favourite colour kept changing from yellow to peach to ghost to appleblossom to bi-colour to green and so on.

It wasn’t until many years later and a few thousand Clivia plants in the shadehouse later that I stopped and thought seriously about what I really like. At the end of the day, all these other colours are rare, attractive and desirable without doubt, but I realised that it is the shape and form of a flower that makes it beautiful and not necessarily the colour.

When you walk around a Clivia show or Expo, the plants that attract you are the ones with large soccer ball heads of flowers, huge flowers and often with recurved petals. Of course everyone has their own preferences regarding the shape of the flowers.

There is nothing more beautiful than a huge plant with a strong, tall peduncle of flowers on a soccer ball head. I have always joked that my ideal flower is one where I could pull off a flower, turn it upside down and put it on my head like a hat. Somehow it seems that most of these vigorous and lovely plants are orange. That should be no surprise, orange is a dominant colour in Clivia.

A garden full of vivid orange Clivia flowering is a beautiful sight. Orange and yellow planted together is lovely with the contrast yet a garden full of just yellows can actually look a bit insipid.

I have a number of beautiful large orange plants in my collection that I find really breathtaking when they flower.