As if a lunar eclipse on the solstice wasn't exciting enough, my Paramongaia weberbauerii decided to open its first bud on that date. This is a thrill I have long awaited, the bulb coming from a friend in New Zealand. The flower is almost like an extremely oversized daffodil that measures 18cm (7 inches) across, and about the same from the ovary to the large corolla. It is only very distantly related to Narcissus, and comes from a completely different part of the world. The scent is heavenly.
Since, so far, I have only one blooming bulb, I put out a call for pollen to pollinate my flower, with the hope of getting seed. This was very successful, so I have more than one batch of pollen, which has been duly applied to the stigma. If I am successful in getting seed, I will return some to the kind people who sent me pollen from their flowers. This kind of sharing is one of the great things about the bulb community enabling propagation of rare species when you only have one clone in your possession.
Paramongaia weberbauerii is from Peru. It is found on the slopes of the Andes, and also in coastal locations. The coastal form grows in the winter, and is dry in the summer, so it seems I have this one, rather than the Andean form that reverses this growth pattern. Our climate here is very cool even in summer, so I have kept this treasure on a heating mat along with some other Peruvian species, where it has flourished. It is most closely related to Pamianthe peruviana, and you can see the resemblance in the photograph above.
It will be a while before I have bulbs to share. I am not sure how long seed takes to ripen (with Pamianthe it is 15 months!), but I hope to find out.