Wednesday, February 6, 2013

cyclamen coum ..

the first time i encountered these delightful beings .. cyclamen .. i had wandered to a familiar woodland setting on the grounds of the university of victoria .. taking a break between classes i was sitting on a bench i'd sat on many time before .. on this day, though, something was different .. my eye was drawn to the leaf litter surrounding the base of the bench .. while taking in a visual of the colour and texture and decompositon of the leaves, i saw points of colour .. brilliant sparks of magenta pink .. jumping out from under the debris .. upon closer inspection i saw cyclamen ..

i didn't know at the time that what i was looking at were cyclamen .. i also don't recall whether it was late winter or autumn .. as the time of year determine whether they were cyclamen coum .. or cyclamen hederifolium .. what i did know .. as soon as i witnessed their colour .. was that i was in the presence of magic ..

the only other cyclamen i'd ever come across were those found in florists' shops .. meant for indoors .. to sit in the centre of the kitchen table .. or on the windowsill in the kitchen .. or on the coffee table in the living room .. what i was seeing now was an exactly like those beautifull houseplants .. but so much smaller .. and growing outside .. it wouldn't be until i started working in phil's garden .. the year after my graduation .. that i came to know these little beings more intimately ..

in the winter flowering shade garden cyclamen are part of the foundational planting .. they started out in two of the beds .. under the hamamelis mollis 'pallida' .. under the daphne odora and the helleborus corsicus .. over the years they have managed .. one way or another .. to make their way around the garden .. even out to the far end of the boulevard .. by bird, i'm thinking .. there's even a cluster growing at the base of the fence post in the side yard ..

phil loved these little guys .. twelve years ago he sent me to a nursery .. just south of town .. where the owner grew and propagated cyclamen .. of various kinds .. i came back clutching a box of five plants .. in 4" pots .. and so we planted these five .. and he sent me back for another five .. cyclamen coum .. cyclamen hederifolium .. we attempted cyclamen graecum .. cyclamen persicum .. cyclamen trochopteranthum .. cyclamen libanoticum .. we weren't successful with all varieties .. however, along with the cyclamen coum .. a little later in the spring .. one cyclamen libanoticum shines brightly .. and boldly .. it's beautifully decorated leaves are twice or three times the size of coum's .. a stunning little guy ..

my attempts to handpick the most wonderfull of them all for my friend seems to have worked .. these days .. years after planting those first few there are hundreds of   cyclamen coum growing in the garden .. from the opening buds of january through to the brilliant blooms of pinks, magentas and whites of february and onward these wonderfull little flowers add yet another dimension to the performance .. on now .. through the drabber months of winter ..

are you familiar with these hardy cyclamen .. they are very hardy .. and seem to be extremely adaptable .. from part sun to shade .. in the open .. under shrubs .. perhaps they could find a place in your garden .. and if not c. coum there are many other varieties that grow and bloom throughout the year .. maybe there's a lovely cyclamen out there that would fit beautifully in your garden ..

No comments:

Post a Comment