These autumn crocus were REALLY ready

So I bit on Bulbmeister's already-growing-crocus deal, and 2 have come up in buds a week after I planted them! Nice violet outsides, I'm waiting on the insides. The multiflowered ones are biding their time. zemedelec
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamfree (Zemedelec) wrote:

I got a bunch of the sale bulbs too. The multiflowered ones, right, not doing anything, I look forward to them next year though. Ah, but the C. pulchellis, they began blooming scarsely almost at once, are strong little fellows, & look just amazing even through the week of frost we've had & are still having. Here they are: http://www.paghat.com/crocuspulchellis.html
I didn't need any more C. speciosus as I have three drifts of them & after two years still haven't quite figured out the perfect groundcover to grow with them to hold their way-too-floppy flowers upright. The ones I planted in an old naturalized expanse of muscari looked the best, & are pictured here: http://www.paghat.com/autumncrocusshowy.html I hate that these so easily fall over on their sides & get ruined, but the patch in muscari that didn't fall over has been blooming a full month without letting up. By comparison the Saffron crocuses with sturdier stems lasted only two weeks before the first night of hard rain eradicated them. I haven't gotten a page up for the saffrons yet, but here is a photo of the regular saffron crocus:
http://www.paghat.com/images/saffron_octob.jpg
and here is the "Kashmir" saffron crocus:
http://www.paghat.com/images/saffron_octobe.jpg
Autumn crocuses will never supplant my esteme for cyclamens as the best autumn bloomers, but they are definitely also wonders. Both are kind of necessary, cyclamens brinbging blooms to shade, autumn crocuses to sunny spots. Here is Cyclamen hederifolium for comparison of looks: http://www.paghat.com/cyclamen.html And though la year the wild form C. persicum did lousy & I doubted they would ever do well, this year they are doing fine, even right now after a week of frost: http://www.paghat.com/cyclamenpersicum.html When these are gone, C. coum will be replacing them so that cyclamens continue through winter right into spring.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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<< Autumn crocuses will never supplant my esteme for cyclamens as the best autumn bloomers, but they are definitely also wonders. Both are kind of necessary, cyclamens brinbging blooms to shade, autumn crocuses to sunny spots.
Omigawd, if ONLY I could get some cyclamen to thrive here--I planted several bulbs in likely spots but so far, not even a variagated leaf. I'm afraid it's just..too.. hot and wet here. zemedelec
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamfree (Zemedelec) wrote:

afraid it's

I forget what's your zone, but you should be able to get them to thrive down to zone 5. But if you bought tubers, these have been abused by drying them out & storing, which they dislike even more than they disliked being dug up in the first place. Tubers frequently take two or three years to bounce back if they ever do. If you obtain instead either two-year-old seedlings or young potted plants, they'll start performing immediately. Avoid dried tubors because (a) they sometimes die before they can regain strength, (b) they are universally stolen from the wild & put horrifying pressures on natural populations, (c) they aren't as varied & unusual as cultivars even when they do take h old, (d) they are frequently mislabeled as to species so you may not even have the species you intended to buy & what you have instead might not be as hardy in your zone.
Before I wised up about tubers I had several planted that produced nothing for over a year (or through at least two autumns when they should have showed themselves). I never disturbed their locations, however, & by their third autumn, even the comparatively delicate (wild) C. persicums did finally appear, & it appears that only one of these tubers for certain simply died though for that first year I thought almost all of them had. In the meantime, the seedlings I'd planted have spread & done spectacularly well, as the seedlings just do better than the tubers from word go.
The other trick is to choose well their location. The best place you can plant C. coum & C. hederifolium is right up close to the root-crown of trees & large shrubs. You'll never be able to dig a hole big enough for one of those tubers that close in amidst roots of big shrubs, but seedlings will slip right in. I prefer them under deciduous shrubs & trees so that I can see them autumn & winter, but they'll do fine under evergreens too. The cyclamens will not thrive in soil that remains moist, but amidst tree roots they not only get the amount of shade they prefer, but the roots also dry out the soil so that it never remains too moist too long at a time. Up next to root-crowns is also a good place for them in terms of nothing else likes ot grow in such a location so you're less apt to accidentally disrupt them when dormant in summer.
I swear they're easy. Even the tubers you planted may yet perform, once they get over having been dried & stored before they were marketed.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Thanks for all the info. I did indeed get tubers--not from Bulbmeister or Heronwood, though. With your advice at hand, I may give them another try. Ever since I saw wild cyclamen growing in the mountains above Beirut, and indeed in any likely spot in the city where they could get a hold, I loved them. Huge range of colors, from pure white with a red eye to deep magenta, not forgetting the pink variety with darker pink freckles. zemedelec
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamfree (Zemedelec) wrote:

Several of the two-year seedlings we obtained (of five different species & many more cultivar varieties) came from Heronswood a few miles from us, so they were never growing in another zone than right here, & nothing to adjust to. Heronswood got their initial seeds from Ashwood in England, a very fine source of unusual varieties. I've gotten seedlings & even potted older plants much more cheaply elsewhere, but not the same range of kinds. The seedlings we've gotten at Heronswood have always in their had a few blooms & a few leaves so there was no waiting for the first rewards, then their second year in the garden (as three-year-old seedlings) they have a great many blooms & leaves, & just better & better as each year passes. I sometimes feel critical of Heronswood for selling things so young you have to have your own greenhouse set up to care for them then harden them off slowly for the garden, but the cyclamens present no problem at all. Maybe I've been lucky but I think of them as fool-proof plants -- if NOT purchased as dried tubers that can do poorly.
The hardiest of the hardies are autumn-blooming Cyclamen hederifolium, & almost as sturdy & also extremely easy are winter-blooming C. coum. With just these two species you can have cyclemens with stunning leaves flowering in the garden from September to March. The flowers tend to be very similar, so it's nice to select varieties foremost for unusual leaf types, & the "pewter group" is particularly nice for a different effect amidst plain ones, mottled ones, & patternleaf types.
There've been a couple cultivars of C. coum that have been slower to develop for us, but when there are two to four in any given spot, enough of them will be developing rapidly, & the others will catch up in time. We've an "Apollo" with a white-outlined tree-pattern on the leaf that has been comparatively slow & has remained very little in its clump. Sometiems the difference in behavior is because conditions from one end of the garden to the other are so different that that's the cause, but in other cases the given strains or cultivars really do behave differently under identical conditions.
In our zone (usda 8) the third-hardiest we've planted is C. intaminatum, which we built a miniature raised bed for because it is such a dwarf. The mottled leaves are only the size of quarters strewn on the ground, so it could be overwhelmed by larger plants if not careful. I would ordinarily recommend only C. hederifolium or C. coum for starting out, because the seedlings or slightly older pot-grown specimens of either of those will be almost impossible to fail with. But because our C. intaminatum has been ever-blooming & keeps at least this one cyclamen in our garden even in summer, I'm really enamored of it for having no dormant period at all & spreading more quickly than any other species we have. Curiously different catalogs & webistes report more limited bloom times for C. intaminatum, so its everblooming potential may be only in a protected spot in a zone 8 garden, where it seems to go from February to November reliably with flowers coming & going throughout that long stretch of time, peaking in September, & the leaves with a lovely presence even when not in bloom so it never vanishes even for a little while. It may be the only temperate species that'll do this, at least I've never seen it described for any others.
If you really wanted to be conservative to test how they'll do for you, you should start with autumn plantings of C. hederifolium which will not disappoint, but you wouldn't be taking much of a risk to plant C. coum at the same time. Plain ones without cultivar names can be very inexpensive, then when you know for sure how easy they are, it's worth jumping at the price of rarer cultivars to increase the leaf varieties.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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