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The next SABG meeting will be on:

  • Sunday 3 October 2021 (Autumn Meeting) (not 10 October as stated in Newsletter 43): either another Zoom meeting or a more conventional meeting in a hall
  • Newsletter no. 44 (June 2021) is now available. [11 June 2021]
  • List of Terry Smale's South African bulbs being distributed now, to UK SABG members only [11 June 2021]
  • SABG Members: do we have your correct email address? The following emails were sent to all SABG members whose email addresses we have. If you are a member and didn’t receive them, please email Richard White (see “Contacts” on this page).
    • Email about the Zoom meeting and other news (8th March)
    • Email about the Zoom meeting and plant and book sales (24th March)
    • Email with details for joining the Zoom meeting (27th March)
    • Newsletter no. 44 and Terry Smale bulb list (two emails to be sent on 11th June 2021)

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


  • Graham Duncan’s Lachenalia book is available again for just £40 from PostScript books ( This excellent book was originally priced at £130. Thanks to Alice Vanden Bon for drawing my attention to this offer. [6 April 2021]
  • We are sorry to have to report the death of Terry Smale on 16 February 2021, at the age of 76. He was one of our founding members and always a friendly and enthusiastic source of plants, information and encouragement. He will be greatly missed, and not just by SABG members: he was an active member of the BCSS, Mesemb Study Group, AGS and RHS. He had a large collection of Conophytums – the BBC filmed his plants for a 6-minute section of the “Gardeners’ World” programme shown on Friday 28th August 2020, which can be seen on-line at 1). On behalf of the SABG and its members, the Committee send their condolences to his wife Jennifer. [8 March 2021]
  • Buying seeds from Silverhill: Some members may be put off ordering from overseas suppliers because of the recent changes to plant health regulations in the EU, which still apply in the UK. Jeremy Spon reports that Ondine at Silverhill’s now pools orders from the UK and sends them in one parcel, with a single covering phytosanitary certificate, by courier to her son who lives in Aberdeen, who then sends the individual orders out in the UK post. She makes a charge to each person over and above the cost of the seeds to cover the internal UK postage and a share of the cost of the phyto and the courier. So anyone in the UK can now order from Silverhill’s, safe in the knowledge that their order will be covered by a phyto without it adding a great deal to the cost of their order. There may be a slight delay in the actual turnaround, as Ondine will have to wait until she has enough orders to justify the courier’s charge, although hopefully the flow of orders will be sufficient that any such delay should be slight. It would be nice to do what we can to help Silverhill’s business to thrive, given how dependent we all are on them for seed of the bulbs we all want to grow. They accept PayPal, so ordering should be fairly painless, but I can’t see any description of the phytosanitary certificate process on their website (, so I suggest you email Ondine at to check before you place your order. [21 January 2021]
  • Cape Seed and Bulb: If it’s bulbs you’re after, here is the recent illustrated list from Jim Holmes ( of Stellenbosch. [21 January 2021]

Spring 2021 meeting (Zoom)

On Sunday 28th March 2021 we have arranged a virtual meeting at 1:30 for 2pm using the Zoom online video-conferencing software. This should allow anyone with a computer, laptop, tablet or smart-phone to participate. An Internet connection will be required (which you presumably have if you are reading this!) and preferably also a microphone and video-camera (often combined and sometimes called a webcam) if you wish to say something. These are built into smartphones, most tablets and many laptops, and can be plugged into desktop computers.

Jon Evans will show the second part of his talk on “Plants seen at AGS shows” for our Zoom meeting at 2pm. This will be a chance for all those members who can’t normally travel to our meetings in person to join in. Jon gave us the first part of his talk at our last physical meeting on 6 October 2019 in Winchester. We will email details of the link to join the talk nearer the time.

:!: Our Zoom meeting is at 14:00, on the day the UK moves to British Summer Time (BST, daylight saving), one hour ahead of GMT/UTC. You might miss it if you are a member in the UK or most other European countries and forget to change your watch or clocks, or if you are a member in another country whose time does not change at the same time as ours (e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, etc.) You can see the current time in the UK here:

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Keep calm & grow bulbs

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

Other meetings

  • Saturday 20 March 2021: Lachenalia visit day
  • Saturday 16 October 2021: Nerine visit day
  • both organised by the Nerine and Amaryllid Society at the Five Arrows Gallery, Exbury Gardens, Exbury, Southampton SO45 1AX, subject to whatever restrictions are in place at the time, by kind invitation of Nicholas de Rothschild and Theo Herselman. These events are ONLY open for NAAS members; see the NAAS events page, and please inform Theo or the NAAS Secretary Alison Corley if you wish to attend.

Further information

Latest newsletters

  • The latest newsletter is number 44 (June 2021). You can read or download all the SABG newsletters from our list of Newsletters.

I plan to include a photo gallery here. Until it is ready, why not visit Audrey Cain's BulbWeb? Her web-site, now hosted by the SABG, contains over 1,400 photographs of plants in 175 genera (not all of them are South African).

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.

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).


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[Copyright © 2021 by the Southern African Bulb Group and Richard White.]

start.txt · Last modified: 11:43 11/06/2021 by Richard White