Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I thought I would do a short entry about some really interesting flowers my friend Lynn from Hort Society told me about years ago and then gave me. They are called Autumn Crocus.
Here's some information from Wikipedia:
Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked lady, is a flower which resembles the true crocuses, but flowering in autumn. (This is not a reliable distinction, however, since there are many true crocuses that flower in autumn.) The name "naked lady" comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long after the leaves have died back.
And that's true.
In the spring I get all these long tulip-like leaves that come up. I often forget I have them so I see the leaves and wonder what they are? Oh yea! These are the great flowers that will appear out of nowhere again in the fall!
Colchicums are not related to the crocus family at all, but are members of the lily family (Liliaceae). Another common name for colchicum is meadow saffron. This too is a misnomer. Colchicums are in fact poisonous and are not edible like the crocus that produces saffron, which we use in cooking.
I have light mauve coloured ones but they also come in light pink, magenta and even white.
Here are the planting instructions:
Plant colchicum corms as soon as possible after you purchase them. If they are left in a warm location for any length of time, they will bloom without being planted. Set the corms 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) deep and about 15 cm (6 inches) apart. In the spring their 15- to 20-cm long strap-like leaves emerge. By early summer the leaves turn yellow and die back. At this point, the plant can look a bit messy. If you plant colchicums among low growing perennials or in front of a group of deciduous shrubs, the unsightly foliage can be nicely disguised. In September or October the plant starts to bloom. Once established, colchicums multiply annually.
Colchicums prefer a sunny but sheltered location. Although they do tolerate some shade. They are hardy from zones 4 to 9.
When the plants begin to look crowded, divide the clumps by carefully lifting them and separating the individual corms. Do this just after they have flowered to avoid damaging the corms. Replant immediately about 15 cm (6 inches) apart.
In the fall avoid raking the leaves where colchicums are planted. The fallen leaves provide a lovely backdrop for the flowers and help to support the flower stems. (OR keep a small patch of periwinkle just to surround the colchicums. Hmmm...may be dangerous considering how periwinkle spreads!)
Colchicums are poisonous and rodents and deer leave them alone.
•Autumnale 'Album' has white flowers and is smaller than most. They bloom in mid-fall growing 13 cm (4 to 6 inches) high.
•Autumnale 'Alboplenum' has large, white, double flowers with several blooms to each bulb. They bloom mid-fall growing to13 cm (4 to 6 inches) high.
•Autumnale ‘Pleniflorum’ ('Roseum Plenum') is a rosy, double flowered, late blooming variety that grows 13+ cm (4 to 6 inches) high.
•Bornmuelleri has large rosy purple, fragrant flowers with a white heart and purple anthers. It grows 20+ cm (8 inches) high.
•Byzantinum produces up to 6 pale pink flowers and is one of the earliest types to bloom. The leaves don't appear until spring and are broader and more ribbed than most. They grow 24+ cm (10 inches) or taller.
•Giant has bright rose/lilac flowers with a white centre and base. It is one of the tallest and largest, growing over 24 cm (10 inches) and is very free flowering from early to mid fall.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I can't believe it's September and the summer months of July and August are already over!!! Today was the first day of school for many. Unbelievable how time flies.
This has been a rotten year for my garden. Partly my fault, partly the weather. I'm still working full time and all our weekends were booked this summer! I mean it - every single one! We were away more than we were home. I know that's a poor excuse for not caring for the garden and not watering but being too busy and having a summer that was dry as a bone = a sad, dried out backyard and front.
I realized that I had missed writing an August diary so I made sure I have a September entry.
As usual, as I walked around, some thing were still blooming despite the heat and drought. (Good old Mother Nature!)
Here are some of my garden's better moments at the present time:
Look: the instructions didn't lie!! It DID come back! I'll take it back inside later this fall, fertilize it and see what happens.
The shrub roses have developed hips. They bloom in June as a single pink-white blossom but only once. Then in September (now) the hips are all in their glory. I have never tried making rose hip tea, but I might.....
Next weekend the plan is to buy new bulbs for spring. Connon's and Terra - here I come!