In a cottage garden by Carol Klein is one of my favourite gardening books. There is a lovely passage in the book that talks about the arrival of Cyclamen Hederifolium in Autumn. Carol describes its appearance beautifully, so I will leave you with her words and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Occasionally you are aware what a perfect sense of timing plants have, as though they were waiting for a specific window in the gardening year to make an appearance, determined to ensure they get the attention they deserve. Autumn-flowering cyclamen are perhaps the archetypal opportunists. Under the beech trees things are dull - apart from moss and the twisting leaves of polypody, it's all dank earth and dun leaves, but running through them are rivulets of pink and white, the massed flowers of Cyclamen Hederifolium.
Their fat corns have been invisible since their foliage died down in April, gathering succour from the soil, but now with the rain and falling temperatures, they have been triggered into action, exploiting the vacuum and putting all their energy into flower production.
In essence, Cyclamen 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.
They make use of the same canopy that has kept its tubers cool, protecting them from fierce sun through the Summer. As the 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 continues.
The cyclamen in the garden are early this year. The rain last week has pushed them into flowering. At the moment it is just a trickle but over the next few weeks it will gather momentum, and the woodland floor will be dotted with large clumps of this very pretty little flower.