Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spring In Summer


Although we are certainly in the summer doldrums, one plant that is putting out new leaves like crazy and looking like it is spring, is Cyclamen purpurascens. In the good old days we called it Cyclamen europaeum, and it is indeed native to central and southern Europe. It's range extends more northerly than any other cyclamen, which promises excellent hardiness, and it's grown like a weed here for ten years; the above pictured clump is from self-seeding and is only three years old.
There are several things that are different about this species; first, it is pretty much evergreen (though in drier years here it will almost go mid-summer dormant before putting out its new leaves in late July-early August), secondly it often puts out its flowers a few at a time over a number of weeks, third it doesn't mind being planted more deeply and doesn't mind a light mulch, and lastly because it doesn't go completely dormant it doesn't like to dry out like the other cyclamens. As far as the deep planting goes, I've even noticed that I need to pluck up new little seedlings and plant them deeper, or they disappear.
I hear purpurascens can be picky about what garden it wants to grow in (for unknown reasons); I'm happy it likes ours... I would say it is the most persistent cyclamen here and just gets bigger every year. It's crisp new leaves in August are a breath of... well, spring!

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Comments:
Hi Don! It looks very happy in your garden. I was given some a few years back. Not sure what kind but it soon dried up and never came back. We have such terrible dry shade, but it great to see it flourishes in your garden.
 
Don, I've probably missed it along the way, but what zone are you in? I'd love to have cyclamen in the garden, but I'm not sure it would be hardy in 5b? Perhaps this one would.
 
Hi Don,
Love the cyclamens, I must plant more. I wonder if they come up earlier in your zone, or if mine have decided not to come up this year.

This is a long shot, but I wonder if I could impose on you for a plant identification. It seems like the kind of plant you would know, and I really would like to find it. I asked on my blog if anyone recognized it, but no luck so far. Would you mind taking a look? http://www.nestmaker.com/?p=176
 
I've enjoyed reading thru your site and looking at your photos. You grow some unusual things, or maybe not unusual but I'm not familiar with them. Great site.
Marnie
 
I've got a couple of hardy cyclamens here and they've not yet made their appearance. Maybe six weeks without rain might have something to do with that. I'm trying to keep up with watering, but dang, it just keeps running into the 7" deep ruts.
 
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