The Most Beautiful Cyclamen (Ever)
As the days shorten and the first rains appear, one of the more magical moments of the autumnal garden awakens from our woodland floor. The first of the hardy Cyclamen begin to present their beguiling, nodding flowers, arising shyly from the soil without nary a leaf to be noted.
Though we love these flowers that are the harbingers of one of our favorites seasons at Heronswood, it is not until their foliage begins to emerge a few weeks after flowering commences do we get to observe what concoctions have been created by the bees a year prior. Our staff and visitors alike begin the laborious, one might say pointless, task of identifying the most striking of the hundreds, if not thousands, of the Cyclamen in our garden (and, oh, for the record, there are NEVER too many Cyclamen in a garden).
Our seed stock originally came from the Maestro of Cyclamen breeding, John Massey, from Ashwood Nursery near Birmingham, England. His fancy leaved forms have since transmuted to a thousand variants, etched in silver, scalloped and dolloped in limes and greens and patterned with shields, swords and musical notes. You will soon enough see that attempting to find the best of the lot is but a fool’s errand.
Just as the flowering of Cyclamen hederifolium falters, in early December, the first flowers are appearing on C. coum that will carry us through January and February in vibrant floral tones above equally handsome and variable (yet more demure) foliage. And in turn, this species will hand the baton off to C. repandum that will flower throughout spring and early summer. Nearly a year of flower from only three species of a single genus; there are many more species to explore.
Our Cyclamens are fecund and produce hundreds of seedlings atop each parent corm. These will be teased apart in the weeks ahead and spread about parts of the garden that are currently devoid of their charms. This is meant to only further frustrate your attempts to identify the most beautiful. Yet in that futile process, you will discover a thousand other charms hidden amongst the garden revealed by a slower, more deliberate pace.
We hope to see you this Friday, Saturday or Sunday in the garden. Take a picture of YOUR favorite and share it with us.