Longwood Gardens, the magnificent 1,077-acre garden estate built by Pierre du Pont, is a wonderful place to visit any time of year.
When I visited in March, the conservatory contained thrilling displays of orchids, echium, bromeliads and clerodendrum.
But for the past forty years, the garden has been doing outstanding work hybridizing clivia. It was a breeding program started in 1976 by Dr. Robert Armstrong.
At the time, orange clivias were common while yellow cultivars were rare. The goal was to try to produce a top of the line yellow.
It took until 2011 to achieve this – 35 years after the program started. The first cultivar introduced was called Clivia miniata ‘Longwood Debuntante’ and had buttery yellow flowers.
Next came another yellow, ‘Longwood Fireworks’ in 2012, followed by ‘Longwood Sunrise’, a striking orange.
‘Longwood Chimes’, the fourth and latest introduction, is a stunning blend of bronze and burnt orange with dark red overtones. It made its debut in March.
When I was visiting, media relations person Trish Evans, showed me around and we paused for a time to admire the magnificent display of clivias, shown here.