Wednesday 2 October 2013

I remember the first time I saw Cyclamen Hederifolium growing in the wild.    I was driving along Rosemary Lane.    I was passing ancient hedgerow, beneath were hundreds of Cyclamen.   I parked the car and walked across the grass verge to take a closer look.   Then and there I decided that one day I would have something similar in the garden.    I completely forgot of course, well we do, don't we?     It was around a year later, when I was shopping in the village, that I noticed a tray of Hederifolium for sale.    The plants looked weary, and to be honest neglected.
The lady selling them told me she had found them at the back of the nursery, and somehow they had been forgotten.   Well, this is now history......the plants have thrived here and spread.
The seed are carried by ants, and I have to say they have done an amazing job.

Let me leave you with an extract from Life in a Cottage Garden by Carol Klein.

Flowers open over several weeks, but this is just the start of it.     As they fade the foliage takes stage.   Few plants offer such ornamental foliage with such breathtaking flowers as the ivy-leaved cyclamen.   Like human fingerprints, the leaves of every plant are unique, no two are ever the same.    Their complex patchwork in every shade of autumnal green is one of late autumn's most spectacular shows.

In essence hederifolium is a shade lover, evolved with other plants and bulbs to exploit the conditions created by trees and make use of extra light as the canopy thins out - the same canopy that has kept its tubers cool, protecting them from fierce sun through the summer.   As leaves fall, light and rain filter through and flowers rush to capitalise:   pollinating insects are less frequent now.   The fallen leaves gradually rot down, providing the plants with humus-rich leaf mould.   Leaves emerge, seed is set, the cycle contines................