We know spring in Bermuda has arrived because wild freesias (refracta-alba) are everywhere, their funnel-shaped flowers, streaked with the faint flush of pink, gold and mauve, just asking to be picked. And certainly gathering them to bring small posies of fragrance indoors is one of life’s great pleasures. However, they should actually be cut rather than picked to avoid uprooting the plants. And remember, the more blooms left on our lawns and grassy hillsides, the more they will reseed for a greater abundance in future years.
Ever since the 17th century when they were introduced to Bermuda, nasturtiums (tropaeolum majus), tumbling on our waysides in all their red, yellow and orange finery, likewise tell us spring is on its way if not here already. Also known as Indian cress, both flowers and leaves of nasturtiums are excellent in a salad or a sandwich. Seeds can be pickled in plain vinegar.
Our colourful varieties of daisies add cheer to a garden. Marguerites (argyranthemum frutescens ) and African daisies (Osteospermum) are also great for floral arrangements.
African Irises (dietes bicolor) are rewarding to plant as their small creamy yellow and brown flowers bloom spring to summer long and require little maintenance. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun. They are propagated by division of their rhyzomes in early autumn.
Canna lilies (canna x generalis) add summer colour with their tall spikes of bright yellow, orange, pink and red. They are escapes and can be seen growing wild but they’re welcome back in our gardens. Plant rhizomes horizontally 18 to 24 inches apart, no deeper than three inches in full sun and water once or twice a week when they’re in flower. Propagate by dividing rhyzomes every three years. This will prevent overcrowding.
Blue Daze (evolvulus pilosus) is great for ground cover and for hanging baskets as it blooms year round and does not require deadheading. It also copes well with salt spray. Plant in well-drained soil and full sun. Plants are easily propagated from soft cuttings as well as from seed. Prune back when the stems are straggly to promote a bushier plant.