Colchicum 'Lilac Wonder'

Jim McKenney
Thu, 20 Dec 2012 17:52:28 PST
Naming conventions among horticultural material are often comically monotonous, the 'Jewel', 'Gem', 'King and 'Queen' conceits in particular having proved to be improbably durable. But in the case of Colchicum 'Lilac Wonder' I think the name is fully justified. 

To appreciate that, put yourself in the place of gardeners of a century ago (and yes, it's that old) who knew only Colchicum autumnale and C. 'Byzantinum': compared to those the flowers of 'Lilac Wonder'  must have seemed a wonder indeed, if only for size. 

For those of you who want to quibble about my statement that 'Lilac Wonder' is a century old, consider this: it received a major award at Harlem in 1927 according to Bowles. But surely by then the stock was already many years old from seed. 

Speaking of Bowles, I watched a British who-done-it the other night (one of the Midsommer Murder series) in which a character who was a gardener was named Bowles and another character was named Augustus. So Edward Augustus was well represented. 

Jim McKenney

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