Spring is a coumin' in....



Thirty one years ago I visited Ernie Lythgoe's incredible garden in Victoria that had a long border full of hundreds--nay thousands--of hot magenta flowered Cyclamen coum. A few years later I visited Lawrence Crocker (co-founder of Siskiyou rare plant nursery) who was busily weeding Cyclamen coum (and a good many other bulbous treasures) out of his lawn. I can still visualize the sizeable mound of cormous, bulbous booty he had accrued (no doubt to be composted or thrown away)...why didn't I ask to put it in a bag for me to take back home? I naively thought, I believe, that you couldn't transplant bulbs "in the green", that they had to be dormant. And yet again a few years later I saw the round leaves of Cyclamen coum scattered abundantly in the late Nina Lambert's lawn. All of these great gardeners have passed on (they don't get greater than these three), but I suspect the cyclamen are persisting in their gardens...
Nina gave me a handful of corms a long time ago that went into my first home's garden, and settled down cheerfully. It was a dark corner of my rock garden, and the soil was none too rich, and mulched with gravel, they nevertheless did quite well. Since then I tried them here and there: no great shakes. Then somehow a few corms found their way to a shady spot north of a large douglas fir in a wide border of my new home and garden. Each year these have produced more and more flowers, and the first seedlings are showing me that THIS is the spot they want to grow. Over the years I've put them here and there, and they have persisted and blossomed a bit: nothing to write home about. But in this spot they are luxuriating, don't you agree? They've been blooming for nearly two months and aren't over yet. Plants no less than people have opinions, and Cyclamen coum hath spoken with its blooms. Now that I know the spot, I must get a flat to add to the mix so that I too may one day have masses of coum to dazzle some young visitor before my time is up! May the circle be unbroken...

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