a recently seen English gardening program I heard the comment that
English bluebells won't grow in New Zealand. On thinking back to
my years growing up in NZ, I realise I never saw any. And, in talking
to several keen gardeners among my friends on a recent trip home
to NZ, they have never seen the English bluebell growing in NZ either.
Their first response
to my question was 'Oh yes, of course it does' but when we referred
to a reference book to check the picture, we all agreed it was not
the English blue bell they have seen but what, I suspect, is the
Spanish bluebell (different shape, flowers not so delicate and no
scent, but takes the heat better). So why, when all the other English
spring bulbs do so well in NZ do we not grow the English bluebell?
Please can someone tell me why?
Incidentally, on the
train between Masterton and Wellington I overheard someone talking
about the white bluebells growing along the sides of the tracks
Onion flowers, do you think?
do need winter chilling, so Auckland is probably not a good place
for them, but Wellington would be. Yes, bluebells do grow in NZ.
Both Spanish and English varieties. Our bulb grower cannot tell
the Spanish and English bluebell apart unless they are side by side.
He is in the Manawatu and has English bluebells growing very well.
Our bulb grower sources blue bluebells in New Zealand and imports
the pink and white forms from Australia until he can bulk up numbers
enough to produce them here.
Bluebells have now been
correctly classified as Hyacinthoides. The Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides
hispanica and the English Bluebell Hyacinthoides nonscripta.
(Previously the Spanish Bluebell was Endymion hispanicus
synonymous with Scilla campanulata and the English Bluebell
For more information,
I suggest you contact Mr Terry Hatch of Joy Plants. He is English,
and is a bulb authority having co-authored a book with Jack Hobbs
from the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens called Bulbs for New
Zealand Gardeners. His phone number is (09) 238 9129.
As for the white bluebells
growing alongside the railway track, you may be right, it could
be onion weed.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH