Friday, February 19, 2016

Autumn Glories

Colchicum out in the garden.

Colchicum parlatoris from seed collected in Greece by Marcus Harvey of Hill View Rare Plants, after an email to Marcus querying what this Colchicum was because on the label I had Marcus, Greece, seed, Marcus wrote:
"I think it is Colchicum parlatoris. I have only found it twice and both times in the Mani Peninsula. The first time was near Stavropigia in very old olive groves, there were only a few but I knew they were different. As an aside it is the only place I have seen Tulipa goulimyi in flower but no matter how many times I have returned I have NEVER seen it again. I also found a small population of Fritillaria messanensis (not known from this area) and Biarum spuneri.
The second site is at Agios Fokas south of Monemvassia a stone's throw from the sea with Crocus hadriaticus and Colchicum sfikasianum. They all live on a little "frying pan" island along with a beautiful little blue and white chapel. The area is very picturesque and German campers bring their vans and caravans onto a flat area in front on the chapel completely oblivious of the plants at their feet and crushed by their tyres. They are usually very surprised when they wake from their morning nap to find people like me on hands and knees staring at the ground, apparently mesmerised". 
Marcus will have some seed of this Colchicum and others for sale soon, he is putting together a small catalogue.

Colchicum byzantinum above and C. byzantinum album below both very easy to grow, they like an open position without being crowded out by other foliage growing over the top of them. Colchicum need to be lifted and divided every couple of years, they multiply well if you do. They will also take a little shade but do not like to have wet feet. The books all say a probable hybrid of C. cilicicum and no mention of where or when.

Colchicum sfikasianum Archibald seed 2/2008 Numbered 0.317.650 (above) as Marcus mentioned above from Greece. I grow this one in a very hot and exposed position with perfect drainage on the edge of a dry rock wall.

Colchicum autumnale above from Winton Seed UK. It is found growing over much of Europe in moist grassland and open woods. I grow it in an open sunny position and it is multiplying well.

Colchicum bivonae via Otto imported from Ruksans, a lovely strong grower and beautifully tessellated
flowers, one of the strongest coloured Colchicum that I have growing in the garden. 

Colchicum ? I made sure I had labeled every plant before we moved house and garden but no label not buried in the pot and not on the ground its like some thing comes in and takes them so you won't know what they are, of course they don't, but its so annoying not knowing what you have growing in the pots until you tip them out. 

Two Cylamen intaminatum from Cyclamen Society seed. Autumn flowering from Western Turkey usually in deciduous woodland especially oak at 1000-1100m. syn. Cyclamen cilicium var. alpinum. There is variation in the leaf patterns, some have markings while others are plain green and flower colours vary from white to pink.
There are some area's in Victoria where we struggle to grow Alpines and small bulbs but two things we can grow in most parts are Colchicum and Cyclamen. Otto used to say when he lived in Town that he could grow all of the Cylamen in the warmer climate. These Cyclamen intaminatum are still growing in the glass house until they are large enough to go out in the garden, I don't want the birds to scratch them out.

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