Freesia: a fragrant beauty in the garden
We’re most familiar with freesias as cut flowers, but did you know that you can also enjoy them in your garden? Not only are they beautiful to look at – they’re also delightfully scented.
What makes freesias so unique is how the plant produces its flowers. Emerging from the corm are multiple stems that develop into dazzling racemes: each of the flower buds on a raceme is arranged neatly in a row. In addition to their characteristic racemes, freesias are also known for the fragrance that makes them so popular. Did you know that the Freesia is one of the few flowers that still retains its natural fragrance? Not surprisingly, it’s often used to create perfumes. Their fragrances range from deliciously sweet to very spicy. While some varieties are quite heavily scented, others have a more subtle fragrance.
Freesias have something for everyone: they’re available in a wide range of colours and fragrances. You can also choose from single, semi-double or fully double flowers. In the case of the double-flowered varieties, the stamens have become the additional petals. Just like magic! The best time to plant the corms is from April until the end of June, and the best place for this is a sunny, not-too-dry spot in the garden. Plant them at a depth of five centimetres and leave eight centimetres between the corms. Then, depending on when you planted them, you can enjoy their flowers from June until the end of September.
The Freesia, which is categorised as a member of the iris family (Iridaceae), was discovered around 1830 by a South African plant collector by the name of Ecklon. He named this exotic flower for Friedrich Freese, a German physician who was his friend and former classmate. Over the years, this flower became part of an actual tradition. On your seventh wedding anniversary, you would give your spouse white freesias to celebrate your pure true love. What could be more romantic? It’s also become a favourite for bridal bouquets since it symbolises unconditional love and innocence.
• You’ll enjoy the freesia’s fragrance most once its individual flowers are completely open.
• But maybe you’d prefer a more subtle scent. In this case, choose blue freesias since their scent is very light.
• Another name for freesias is the ‘Cape lily-of-the-valley’.
• What if you have a patio or balcony instead of a garden? Freesias will also perform very well in pots.