I've just put in a drift of colchicum in the forward area of a garden, backed up by a drift of my fanciest silver-centered blue-leaved Arisaema consanguineum (these are seedlings from which I hope to select a couple to develop). My thinking is that when the colchicums bloom, their color goes well with the blue arisaemas (it does); before they bloom, the arisaemas will draw the eye up and away from the absent colchicums (I'll need to put some flat groundcover there - perhaps a blue-red sedum such as 'Bertram Anderson' or 'E.B. Anderson, whichever it is); and in spring, before the arisaemas emerge (they come up in July), the colchicum foliage will distract from the absence of the arisaemas (again, I may look for something small scale to fill in there -perhaps Cyclamen coum, which, as Panayoti Kelaidis once pointed out to me, makes an excellent interplanting with late emerging arisaemas. The cyclamen occupy the stage from early fall (foliage emerges) to late spring; the arisaemas emerge after the cyclamen go dormant, and start getting shabby as the cyclamen develop). Ellen Hornig Seneca Hill Perennials Oswego NY USA Zone 5 w/outstanding winter snow cover Original Message: ----------------- From: Jim McKenney firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 07 Sep 2004 20:25:27 -0400 To: email@example.com Subject: [pbs] Colchicum in the garden To judge by the array of photos on the wiki, we have some real colchicum enthusiasts out there. I'm guessing that they too have wrestled with the problem of how to place colchicum in the garden. I have a small garden, and so some of the traditional solutions to this problem - for instance, place them in the shrubbery - are not an option here. I grow the bulk of the "collection" in a raised bed outside of the garden proper. That sort of backyard monoculture strikes me as being more in the nature of agriculture than horticulture - it's certainly not gardening in my book. But there are a few cultivars which I have in some quantity, these being varieties which are well adapted to local conditions (something I have learned from sad experience cannot be taken for granted with these plants). There isn't room in the raised beds for these, and I want some Colchicum in the garden itself - but where? A lifetime of gardening has not provided a totally acceptable answer. The problem as I see it is that Colchicum bloom at a really awkward time: forget what you have read about these plants being autumn bloomers. They bloom during the last month of summer, and if your garden is anything like mine, they bloom when the garden is at its peak of annual color and floral diversity. The flowers of late summer blooming Colchicum come in two basic colors: white and a very cold pink. Those colors are no competition for everything else going on in the garden when they bloom. Unless they are placed very carefully, Colchicum flowers seem to look as if they have a hangover. I've come up with one solution here which is pretty good if not perfect. I have a big patch of leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, among which grow some fine hybrid Colchicum. This works fairly well: the leadwort is very late to sprout early in the season while the Colchicum foliage is doing its thing. Then, late in the summer when the leadwort is in full bloom, the chilly color of the Colchicum flowers finds a nice compliment in the bright blue of the leadwort. On reason this is not perfect is this: nearby grow some handsome Sternbergia lutea. They make a much brighter contrast with the leadwort flowers. I can't look at the Colchicum/leadwort combination without thinking that it really should be a Sternbergia/leadwort grouping. Anyway, the Colchicum/leadwort combination is the best one I have come up with. What are others doing? Jim McKenney firstname.lastname@example.org Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where it tickles me that fifty years after Plumbago larpentae became Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, garden writers were still referring to the "recent name change". After making that crack, I decided to do a IPNI search on the name. Guess what? It's not plumbaginoides (which is the spelling used in all the standard references in my library going back to the beginning of the twentieth century), it's plumbaginioides. So, fifty years from now, will some garden writer be saying "the name recently changed from plumbaginoides to plumbaginioides"? Or will plain thinking botanists revolt against these nit picking name tamperings? And what does this word plumbaginioides mean? Something like "like a little Plumbago" -plumbago + the diminutive ini + oides ? And what's with this three-vowels-in-a-row business? What's this supposed to be, Homeric Greek? Didn't these folks ever hear of elision? _______________________________________________ pbs mailing list email@example.com http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/list.php -------------------------------------------------------------------- mail2web - Check your email from the web at http://mail2web.com/ .