Two of our gardens' nicest adornments of the moment came a long way to get here, but we have not had much luck finding out the details.
Clivia provides that flash of molten yellow, red and orange in shady spots, the brilliant flower stalks emerging from dark-green strap-shaped leaves.
Raphiolepis, a now common evergreen shrub, also is at its prime these days, covered with clusters of small, delicate pink blossoms.
We consulted a number of California experts, trying to find out when these remarkable plants were introduced here, but there is no helpful record. We talked with James Bauml, plant taxonomist at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum in Arcadia; Dick Dunmire, editor of the Sunset Western Garden Book and a senior editor of Sunset Magazine in Menlo Park; Mildred E. Mathias, emeritus professor of botany at UCLA, and Victoria J. Padilla, author of "Southern California Gardens." The best that they could do was this: