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//Lachenalia aloides// var. //aurea// [If you can't see the picture, perhaps your browser settings need changing.]



(for more details on some of these items, go to the “News items” section below)

Important message to all SABG members

Depending on the changing situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic, the SABG committee is considering the possibility of holding our autumn meeting on 11th October. We will make a decision about that nearer the time, taking government guidelines into account, and let you all know.

Meanwhile, stay safe.

Best wishes,
The SABG Committee

  • A BBC programme with a portion devoted to wild Gladiolus with Rod & Rachel Saunders, filmed in the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa, has been shown on BBC television in the UK, and is now available for streaming from BBC iPlayer (, but unfortunately only for viewers in the UK.
  • Our meeting on Sunday 29th March 2020 at Hale Institute Village Hall1), near Farnham, Surrey, UK (not the usual Winchester meeting place) was cancelled. Chris Birchall was scheduled to talk on “Rhodohypoxis - Growing, Showing and Natural Environs”. See below for more details.
  • The next SABG meeting will, we hope, be on Sunday 11th October 2020. James Hitchmough will give two talks at the meeting. More details will follow later when they are available.
  • Newsletter no. 41 (March 2020) is now available.
  • SABG Members: do we have your correct email address? Newsletter no. 41 was sent on 20th March to all SABG members whose email addresses we have. If you are a member and didn’t receive it, please email Richard White (see “Contacts” on this page).

Autumn 2020 meeting

We hope to have our next meeting on Sunday 11th October 2020, subject to confirmation later. It may be at our usual meeting place, Badger Farm Community Centre, Winchester. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and the meeting will finish at approximately 2:30 p.m.

All who are interested in growing these plants will be welcome. There is an entry fee of £3.00, but parking is free. There will as usual be a plant display table, plant sales (a good reason to arrive soon after 10:00!), and tea and coffee with biscuits. There will also be a few books for sale. You are encouraged to bring along any plants you wish to display or sell, or digital photos to share with the audience. Bring your own lunch.

The timetable we plan is as follows:

10am Doors open for Plant Sales. Tea/coffee available
11am – 12.00 Talk by James Hitchmough
12.00 - 1 pm Lunch
1pm - 2pm Talk by James Hitchmough
2pm – 2.30pm Winding up

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More details of our meetings, including directions for getting there, are given on the meetings page.

Other meetings

  • SABG members may attend events organised by the Nerine and Amaryllid Society at the Five Arrows Gallery, Exbury Gardens, Exbury, Southampton SO45 1AX, by kind invitation of Nicholas de Rothschild and Theo Herselman. For these events, see the NAAS events page, and please inform Theo or the NAAS Secretary Alison Corley if you wish to attend.
    • The Lachenalia Visit Day at Exbury in Spring 2020 has been cancelled.
  • The SABG meetings in 2020 will be on Sunday 29th March (cancelled at Hale Institute Village Hall, near Farnham, Surrey) and Sunday 11th October (probably but not necessarily back at the usual Winchester venue). James Hitchmough will give two talks at the latter meeting. More details will follow later when they are available.

Further information

News items

  • The BBC Gardeners’ World episode with a portion devoted to wild Gladiolus with Rod & Rachel Saunders, filmed in the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa just before their deaths, has been shown on BBC television in the UK, and is now available for streaming from BBC iPlayer (, but unfortunately only for viewers in the UK, as far as I know. [Richard White, 7 May 2020]
  • Newsletter no. 41 (March 2020) is now available. [Richard White, 20 March 2020]
  • The SABG Committee has decided it is necessary to cancel the SABG meeting on Sunday 29th March 2020. [Paul Cumbleton, 16 March 2020]
  • I have moved some pictures and information about our former Chairman Bill Squire to a separate page [Richard White, 1 April 2019]
  • “Ephemeral” seeds (which germinate immediately) were available to members for two days only. For the list of species available, see Ephemeral seeds available 20-22 November 2018 [Jon Evans, 20 November 2018]
  • In the latest October 2018 Silverhill Seeds newsletter (, Ondine Schrick (who had worked for Rod and Rachel Saunders for over twenty years and is now the owner of the business) writes “We hope Rod and Rachel are in a gentler place now – perhaps at the top of a mountain gazing down over unfolding hills and valleys, tranquil. Work done, dreams and adventures fulfilled. The world a richer place for their time spent here.” There are many other tributes in the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum ( [Richard White, 7 November 2018]
  • The cremation service for our former Chairman Bill Squire was scheduled to place in Bangkok yesterday [Richard White, 7 November 2018]
  • A display of a small selection of Bill Squire's plants was presented by Leo Squire and Tony Bennett at the meeting of the Dorset Group of the Alpine Garden Society, of which Bill had been Chairman, on the 1st November, 2018. A small but appropriate tribute to a wonderful man. [Richard White, 2 November 2018]
  • Sadly I have to report the death of Bill Squire, our long-serving former Chairman, on Friday 26th October 2018. Not long after starting a “new life” with his partner in Thailand, he succumbed to a short but fatal illness. He was also well known as the former Chairman of the Dorset Group of the Alpine Garden Society, and the curator of the National Collection of Lachenalia. I am sure everyone will join with me in expressing our condolences to his family. [Richard White, 29 October 2018]
  • I have just added The South African Species of Dipcadi by A. A. Obermeyer (1964) to our Links to other web sites [Richard White, 29 October 2018]
  • For many years Audrey Cain maintained a large collection of photographs of bulbs, many of them South African, which could be viewed on her web-site, called “BulbWeb”. This has not been available for a while, but I am pleased to be able to report that, with help from Audrey and her son Doug, I have been able to reinstate the photos (about 1,500 in about 190 genera) and some of Audrey’s comments about them. The comments are mostly about flowering dates in cultivation, and require some more work to sort them out properly. However, rather than keep them hidden until this is done, I have made a provisional version of BulbWeb available on the SABG web site. Any comments will be welcomed by Audrey and me. [Richard White, 10 October 2018]
  • There is a special issue of the Pacific Bulb Society’s journal “The Bulb Garden” dedicated to the lives of Rod and Rachel Saunders. [Aiko Talens, 3 October 2018]

Latest newsletters

  • The latest newsletter is number 41 (March 2020). You can read or download all the SABG newsletters from our list of Newsletters.

[gallery here soon]

About the Group

The SABG is based in the UK and is for anyone interested in growing the beautiful and diverse bulbous plants of South Africa and neighbouring countries. You do not need to be an expert (I’m not!) or live in the UK, but our meetings have all been in England so far.

The objective of the Southern African Bulb Group is to further the understanding of the cultivation of Southern African bulbs, where ‘bulbs’ is used in the broad sense to encompass bulb-, corm- and tuber- possessing Southern African plants, which are mostly ‘monocots’ (plants with strap-like leaves and flower parts in threes or sixes) but also including ‘dicots’ (with broad leaves and frequently five-petalled flowers) such as Oxalis.

Our activities include two meetings per year with talks and plant sales (recently these have been in Winchester in southern England), an annual bulb and seed exchange, and a newsletter with three or four issues per year.

Many of these plants come from the former Cape Province of South Africa, now the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, and are easy to grow in a cool greenhouse or a sunny conservatory or window sill. They usually provide colourful flowers in autumn and winter and need a dry period in summer, because they are mostly winter growers from the winter rainfall areas of South Africa. Some are summer growers and a few of these will grow outside in southern or sheltered parts of the UK, such as Agapanthus, some Nerines and Tulbaghias, etc. Others, like Lachenalia, are real jewels to brighten up your conservatory when not much else is in flower.

More about the SABG

About the SABG web site

This is a new version of the SABG web site, which is intended to contain all the information from the original SABG web site (which will remain available for a while, but will not be updated). The URL (location, address) at which the web site can be found has not changed. It is or just It is a secure web-site. If your web browser says it isn’t, go to Information about our compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be found in our Privacy Policy.

This new version is hosted by a company whose servers are housed in an energy-efficient data centre powered by energy from green renewable sources. It’s implemented as a “wiki” in order to make it easier for people to contribute to it. The page “What's a wiki?” gives more details of how it works. Please email me with any problems or suggestions.

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For help with finding your way around, click on Help (on the sidebar, which may appear on the left of the page on computers and at the top on small devices).


  • To join the group, or to enquire about joining, email Rodney Sims
  • To enquire about the newsletter or web site, to send suggestions for additions and improvements, or to submit items for inclusion, email Richard White

[Copyright © 2020 by the Southern African Bulb Group and Richard White.]

start.txt · Last modified: 20:31 07/05/2020 by Richard White