Monday, October 18, 2010

Freesia alba Burtonii

Freesia alba Burtonii

This plant is a New Zealand classic garden icon, blooms with an amazing perfume that for me heralds the start of spring.
It is a sport of Freesia refracta alba, is much improved and is a very fragrant white flower of outstanding quality and size.
A bulb flower that is almost a pure creamy-white with yellow lower lip which is quite free from outer purple markings, and is twice the size of Freesia refracta alba.
It appeared by chance in the private Nelson gardens of Mrs Burton in the 1930's and the owner conferred a benefit on posterity by segregating and propagating it.
The flowers are generally sterile and seed is very seldom seen, so stock must be increased by divisions which is helped by its vigorous growth creating large bulbs.
Great for mass plantings and for picking as flowers are produced abundantly for two months from early spring.
A bulb variety that got lost in the clamour of 'big box' garden centres to sell the latest and greatest using the 'one plant fits all' criteria, which inevitably created a lack of retail demand for this variety so it was taken off commercial growers catalogues. Freesia alba Burtonii can now can only generally be found on garden groups sales tables, so if you can find it, get it, I guarantee you will enjoy it!

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version. Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.  

1 comment:

  1. Sara,
    I can just imagine the luscious perfume exhaled by this lovely flower, from your beautiful portrait. I am happy to learn of its history. I love the yellow lip. I do not know this variety but Freesia is one of my favorite blooms. I am lucky to be near a grower, who has already begun cultivation of hundreds in a greenhouse, to begin blooming in January. They are so much lovelier than those of the commercial markets. I believe none can beat those grown right in the garden. Carol


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