Current Blooms
Mon, 14 Sep 2009 13:57:42 PDT
Hi Jane,
I'm going to take advantage of the ambiguity in your question addressed 
to 'Jim' to wade in with a reply: yes, I do grow Cyclamen purpurascens, 
probably v. fatrense, which is succeeding to the extent of self-sowing. 
  Flowering stopped about a month ago but the patch of cyclamen leaves 
continues to thrill.
Jim Jones
Lexington, MA

-----Original Message-----
From: Jane McGary <>
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Sent: Mon, Sep 14, 2009 1:42 pm
Subject: Re: [pbs] Current Blooms

Ina in New Zealand asked if Cyclamen hederifolium is "the
in-between-sized cyclamen," and I think she is referring to it being
intermediate in size between C. persicum (which would be an outdoor
plant in her area, though not in much of Europe or North America) and
C. coum, another one that will naturalize in gardens. I was surprised
to read that Jim Shields can't grow C. hederifolium outdoors, because
people in even colder parts of North America do, such as in upstate
New York. Perhaps drainage is the problem? Jim, do you grow C.
purpurascens outdoors? It has been very successful in some Midwest
gardens, though I can't make it happy in Oregon.

C. hederifolium has been in full bloom here for a couple of weeks,
and just as it started up, I went around and lifted and potted a lot
of the white forms to be sure I have a good supply of them to take to
my new garden next summer. Here in western Oregon this species
naturalizes very readily, as it has for Ina, and even pops up in
lawns. I haven't seen it out in natural areas, though; the seeds are
distributed by ants and are rather heavy and sticky, so it doesn't
get too far. You can always tell a house where a serious gardener has
ever lived around here, by the presence of this species, which will
persist forever.

Another species growable outdoors in moderate climates and flowering
in fall is C. mirabile, which is smaller but also has pretty leaves,
especially when they first emerge and the light markings are flushed 

Colchicum are starting to flower here: the early C. bivonae
selections and hybrids, the garden plant known as C. "byzantinum
album," C. x agrippinum, and an assortment of little species in the
bulb frames, including those formerly known as Merendera. Every year
I get to make the acquaintance of new species as seedlings finally
flower; the seeds can take up to 5 years to germinate, and then 4 or
5 years to flower. A first bloom right now is C. sfikasianum from
Greece, and I was interested to see that it appears to be identical
to an unidentified plant given me a couple of years ago by Roger
MacFarlane, who had collected it in Greece; the two, in separate
frames, opened their flowers within 2 days of each other. I find that
the succession of flowering in Colchicum species is very consistent
from year to year. It must be triggered by temperature.

The crocuses haven't started yet, so the other interest in the frames
is in the fall-flowering Scilla species, recently transferred to a
genus Prospero, and in Acis (formerly Leucojum in part). Scilla, or
Prospero, autumnalis, with lavender flowers, is the best-known of the
former, a very easy plant to grow, flowering from seed in 2 years and
ripening  seed remarkably fast: I grew mine from seed I collected in
Greece in roadside colonies that still had flowers too. Scilla
intermedia and S. obtusifolia (I don't know if they are Prospero or
whatever S. scilloides became) are very similar species, a little
larger than S. autumnalis, with pink flowers.

Besides Acis autumnalis, which naturalizes in this region, A.
valentina is in bloom. This is larger than A. autumnalis and pure
white (there is also a pure white form of A. autumnalis called
'September Snow', which seems prepared to seed itself true), and its
flowers open more widely; it is quite beautiful. Soon there will be
A. rosea, a tiny pink one, but it is tender and has to be kept in the
solarium over winter.

All these plants except Acis rosea have been winter-hardy with rain
protection to about 20 degrees F / minus 6 degrees C, and do well
with a dry summer dormancy. Indeed, the wild forms of Cyclamen
persicum are too, and even the gaudy florist forms of it survive at
my brother's place in the California Coast Range, where they get a
few degrees of frost every winter.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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