Gloriosa ‘Tomas De Bruyne’ has a great name for a plant. Flemish, or northern France. A touch of class. And judging by the image taken on the 26th August it looks sensational. Of course it was an impulse buy, an addition to a more considered order. And I gave it the prime spot in a huge terracotta pot on a south facing wall. When it arrived it was an untidy cigar shape and size, wrapped up in tasteful brown paper. But this, dear reader, was the solitary bloom. I’d been fascinated by the thin leaf that eventually developed a wire-like tentacle to grasp the trellis. And, by gosh, it gets the full treatment in the publicity campaign. It was named after an international floral designer by its Dutch breeder, Van Ruiten. Gloriosa is a form of Colchicaceae, a tender South African lily and I think that’s the problem with my cultivation. Its natural home is a frost free greenhouse and, despite the warmest outdoor position I can offer, it seems not to have been hot enough. And it arrived a little late to get started properly. It has been stored and insulated for the winter and in the new year I’ll get it started early because that first and only bloom was truly breathtaking. A challenge.

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