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Re: Cyclamen was: Exceptional Weather Comes to an End

Thanks, Marge,  this was very helpful.  I think I'll add this to my "try"
list.  I am constructing some walks and new beds this winter and these will
be a good candidate for the edges.  I am redoing two large areas of my
property, including the raised beds that we use for vegetable gardening and
the front porch.  The front porch will require moving two beds and adding
walks.  I have gotten lots of inspiration from the pictures people put on
the web of their gardens.  And, it is wonderful to have the time to work on
some of these projects and put to work new information from the Master
Gardeners course.

Bonnie Zone 6+ ETN

> [Original Message]
> From: Marge Talt <mtalt@hort.net>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 11/06/2003 12:44:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [CHAT] Cyclamen was: Exceptional Weather Comes to an End
> > From: Bonnie Holmes <holmesbm@usit.net>
> > Tell me about the hardy cyclamen that bloom in the fall.  I'll bet
> they
> > would work here in ETN or would our climate be too humid?  I am
> thinking
> > about using them for Christmas flowers this year but hadn't thought
> about
> > varieties that would work outside.  How long do they bloom?  Are
> they
> > perennials?
> ----------
> Bonnie, Cyclamen hederifolium should certainly grow for you; they
> grow for me and your climate can't be more hot and humid than mine:-)
>  Ellen Hornig (Seneca Hill Perennials) is in z 5b NY (has reliable
> snow cover all winter) and grows the following outdoors - says all
> seed around for her:
> C. hederifolium
> C. coum
> C. purpurascens 
> C. coum and hederifolium are also grown outside in Denver
> successfully, with spotty snow cover.  C. hederifolium and C.
> purpurascens have proven consistently hardy in Ottawa, CA (USDA z 4);
> C. coum has had some damage on occasion in that person's garden.  The
> above also grow in Idaho, z 5. (this info. from posts to Cyclamen
> list about hardiness.)
> Key to winter survival is that they are not in a wet spot.  It seems
> it's not so much cold that can kill them, but wet, soggy cold.    It
> also helps if they are in a somewhat protected spot, like under a
> shrub or tree; not exposed to sweeping, bitter winter winds...in the
> lea of a rock also helps if there aren't any bushes around, but not
> in a place like the south foundation of a house in sun, where they
> may get too much winter heat.  Micro climate makes a difference:-) 
> They thrive under trees and shrubs because the woody roots absorb
> moisture in summer when most of them are dormant and prefer it a bit
> on the dry side - not desert, bone dry, as I learned the hard way,
> but dryish.  They don't like soggy soil at any time of year.  Foliage
> does get battered after hard winters, but the plants keep on going.
> I would imagine Gene is growing all three of these.  I have C.
> hederifolium and C. purpurascens in the garden; have killed C. coum a
> couple of times by putting it where it got too dry and where
> squirrels got to it, but have a bunch of babies (with silver pattern
> leaves) that should be old enough to go in the ground in another
> year.
> C. hederifolium goes dormant in summer and flowers in autumn as the
> weather cools a bit and the rains come.  Normally flowers before it
> leafs out, but leaves form while it's still flowering.  Has
> incredibly variable foliage from plain green to all sorts of lovely
> silver and pewter patterns.  
> C. coum is rather smaller than C. hederifolium.  The flowers are
> blunter in form - cute as the dickens.  It flowers in late winter;
> very early spring - like February around here.  It also goes dormant
> in summer.
> C. purpurascens is virtually evergreen for me and flowers most of the
> summer.  I am not sure if the foliage would stay all year in your
> climate, but it's a good one to have because it flowers during the
> growing season when the other two are dormant.
> If you have squirrels, you need to give some thought to protecting
> Cyclamen tubers from them.  I have mulched my beds with pea gravel -
> seems to help; also set small rocks around them and even covered new
> beds with that most attractive heavy green mesh garden fencing
> (ugh)...just took it off one bed this year as I couldn't stand
> looking at it any more.  All the above seems to help, tho' there will
> be some losses, even if you use goodly sized rocks.
> Cyclamen are, IMO, about the most charming plants on the planet -
> can't have too many.  I dream of swaths of them like I have seen in
> assorted gardening mags...sigh.  The way to get that is to grow from
> seed - they are pretty easy from fairly fresh seed; germinate in
> about a month from sowing, tho' it takes a few years to get flowers -
> like around 3 years for C. hederifolium - you do get the lovely
> foliage from the start.  
> These are small plants.  Sometimes, when you see photos of them, you
> get the impression they are large, but they are not; no more than
> maybe 5" to top of flower - less for C. coum - and the foliage is
> maybe 3" or so tall at most...'lil guys.  You want them close to a
> path where you can see them and you need to get down to ground level
> to really get a close look at the flowers (well worth the effort).
> The Cyclamen Society web site has lots of info. and photos of about
> every species out there.  
> http://www.cyclamen.org/
> There is also a Cyclamen email list - unfortunately one of the Yahoo
> lists (I hate mucking with Yahoo's group stuff), but you can join it
> by simply sending a blank email with no subject line to:
> Cyclamen-L-subscribe@yahoogroups.com 
> Cyclamen are like potato chips; you can't just have one:-)
> Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> mtalt@hort.net
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