Category Archives: bulbs

Cyclamen Coum – February Romance

I think February is sleeping in.  The days are getting longer, but it seems so slow. Standing at the Kitchen sink, staring out the window at the drizzle, I let out a squeal.  Hot pink blooms at the base of the apple tree!  I’m saved!  Happy dance.

cyclamen coum - full bloom
photo by SVSeekins

Cyclamen coum shouts for me to come outside and play.  I drop everything to grab the camera. Kneeling down on the soggy lawn, I fumble for the Close Up setting.  The rain dribbles down my neck, but I don’t care.  Blooms!  I see blooms!

For such a tiny flower, it packs a punch.

I mean, snowdrops are lovely but are demure, unassuming white flowers.  Cyclamen coum are bright, exotic, FEISTY flowers.  Round 1 goes to c. coum.

cyclamen coum - full bloom
photo by SVSeekins

In round 2 c. coum throws a low blow to my gut.  It’s a little more pricey than my usual comfort zone, especially considering that it comes in such a tiny pot.  But determined to have real color in the winter garden, I stayed strong & paid the price.

cyclamen coum - debris
photo by SVSeekins

In round 3 I struggled with where to showcase the winter bloomer.  I keep the little bed under the apple tree empty – mostly because I read somewhere that certain bugs climb up tall plants as a way to get high into the apple tree & infect the fruit.  I don’t know whether that’s really true, but it gives me a clear spot, visible from inside, for the cyclamen to show off.  Good thinking, eh?

C. coum are so small that they could easily be lost under a pile of leaf debris, so in round 4 I get busy & do the winter clean up chores.

cyclamen coum - January
photo by SVSeekins

Their speckled round leafs started to show in October.  By mid-January, c. coum had minuscule, bright fuchsia buds.  I often found myself outside cheering them on.  It took a few extra weeks for their flowers to open.  That entertainment value won them round 5.

So now, I’m on my knees with the camera, looking a bit foolish, but happy.  I’m head over heels.   How many more rounds to go?  None,  round 6 is a simple knock out.

Cyclamen coum have got to be my all-time favorites – EVER.   🙂

cyclamen hederifolium - February - leaf only
photo by SVSeekins

Hardy Cyclamen is more often known as a fall bloomer.  Most varieties start in August and some continue through November.  There are lovely examples growing in Abkhazi Garden.

Cyclamen hederifolium (with ivy shaped leaves) is a bully & overruns many of the other varieties.  There are several small patches around our yard, but I’m being ever so careful about placing each variety separately and not too close together.

cyclamen hederifolium - September bloom only
photo by SVSeekins

On a positive note, C. hderifolium’s flowers seem to appear magically out of nowhere, and the leaves show up weeks later.  That’s kind of cool, for a bully.

cyclamen hederifolium - February - rock crevices
photo by SVSeekins

Cyclamen are well suited as a rockery plant, too.  I’m happy to have success with some rooting well into the steep mossy rock in our side yard. My hope is that it’s tough to mix varieties when they’re each growing in their own crevice.

Garden gurus Carole & Bill Dancer have lovely masses of hardy cyclamen flowering throughout their garden beds at this time of year.  Bill says the cyclamen spread effortlessly.  He chuckles that the ants do the work.  They happily move the sticky seeds around for him. My guess is the ants are just as susceptible to this February romance as I am.


Snowdrops – January Gems

The first year at Richmond House I was ecstatic to see snowdrops blooming on January 11.  Months earlier I’d planted some & the early pay off was thrilling.  Happily more were proving that they’d previously been naturalizing around the yard.

The following year, having a better idea of where to seek out the delightful little blossoms:  January 1 – discovery!

Another winter it was December 27.

But this year, even searching vigilantly through the Christmas & New Year holidays, it took until January 11 for my first snowdrop encounter.

January snowdrops
photo by SVSeekins

With West Coast’s winter being dull and drizzly, a promise of the spring to come is like a ray of sunshine.  So even though white flowers are not usually near the top of my list, I celebrate January snowdrops.

These plants are treasures.  When hit with snow for a few days in the middle of the month they barely twitched.  If anything, by the time I went back outside, more were blooming!  In the cool days of our winter snowdrop blooms last for weeks & weeks – well through February.

I like to get down close to the earth & take a close look at them.   It’s fun to discover the little green tatoo on each petal.  And who knew there were so many varieties?

Clusters in my garden haven’t yet become abundant enough to divide, but now is the time to do it.  Usually the recommendation is to wait until a plant is in dormancy before moving it.  With snowdrops that rule doesn’t hold true apparently.  That’s pretty handy, because once they die back I can never really remember where they are.

I’ve used this time of year to shift snowdrops into different locations, as it was a mistake for me to attempt growing them in a spring-flowering meadow.  Although they bloom before the grasses start to grow, their leaves are still busy storing up for next year’s flowers when C has the uncontrollable urge to dust off lawn mower in late February.  Zip, there goes the meadow.

Shorter bulbs, like crocus, might stand half a chance in our lawn, but not snowdrops – – nor daffodils. Those are best left to naturalize in our beds & borders.

© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

Toad Lily – a delicate flower in chilly october

It was chilly & the rains were back.  With the soil moist it was a good time to dig & destroy dandelions.  It’s my ongoing mission, to keep the flower beds free. A depressing mission really, because it’s a task that’ll never be done.  Regardless, and especially on wet days, I persevere.

toad lily bloom in autumn
photo by SVSeekins

On this one wet day I received a delightful reward.  A toad lily bloom.

A flower in October!  Woo Hoo!   I knelt beside it to get a closer look.  The poor little thing is so tiny & delicate – – but so pretty!

The starter plant wasn’t substantial when I got it from MT of the View Royal Garden Club during a garden tour in July.  I’d marked it carefully hoping not to weeded it out by mistake.  It had grown a little.

Now there was sign that deer enjoyed it too.  Little nibbles showed where more blooms would’ve been.  Obviously I hadn’t been as attentive as the deer.  Thankfully they’d left this bloom for me to admire.

Happily, the flower has lasted well over a month. I’m looking forward to watching this perennial establish.  It’s such a nice part of the autumn garden.


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