24 August 2000
Gordon McNeil was a Pioneer of Clivia and other
bulbous plants in South Africa. At the time he did his collecting there was negligible
writing on Clivias, and indeed very little on the Amaryllidaceae.
Before we criticize him we should try to understand his position.
He did indeed take over the Blackbeard collection,
and also bought plants from the Strapp family. 'Howick Yellows", in fact.
Why he should say they had no scent in the wild may become a little clearer
after I have completed my sniffing experiment with clivia miniata this season.
I wish many of the rest of you would also have a sniff at your flowers three
or four times on a regular basis and see what conclusions you come to. I shall
not announce any of my results for a while so as not to influence your
thinking, but please do sniff morning noon and night.
Gordon did claim a few intergeneric crosses for
his clivia which we now know did not happen, it was just his enthusiasm
getting ahead of his judgment.