I missed my usual Mass-Market Monday post because I spent the entire day putting things away after the weekend’s orchid show, and catching up on shipping orders. I’m still not caught up, but it’s better.
Our hometown fall orchid show is always held at one of the local nurseries, and my tradition is to buy one or more cyclamen plants for the garden. Over the years I’ve collected quite a variety of cyclamens, which seem to have interbred and produced more different leaf and flower designs. They’re really fun to grow because they go dormant and disappear over the summer, but as soon as the rains start in the fall, up pop the flowers or the leaves, in different order depending on the species, and sometimes both flowers and leaves together. Different species bloom at different times, so there are flowers continuously from early fall through winter and spring.
This year I went all-out and bought 4 plants – a pointed-leaf hederifolium, a coum with variegated leaves to offset the silver-leaf ones that have bred like rabbits and gone wild beneath the fig tree, and two gorgeous purpurascens. Most cyclamen species have at least a little fragrance, unlike the big florist hybrids, which are unscented. What I wasn’t expecting was a huge blast of fragrance that rivaled jasmine or fragrant lilies in strength. As I approached the cyclamen bench, I smelled what could have been a fine floral perfume wafting through the air. It didn’t take long to trace it to the Cyclamen purpurascens, which were pumping it out like crazy. After a lot of sniffing I chose the two most fragrant ones, which, just by chance, have very different leaf designs. They are now happily planted in the front garden under a Japanese maple tree.
If this doesn't make you want to grow cyclamens, I don't know what will.
[All photos are mine]