Saturday, 19 January 2019

Cyclamen and snowdrops

Jo Hynes from Higher Cherubeer, Dolton in Devon was at the Somerset Hardy Plant Society today.  My friends Sally and Peter Gregson had invited me to join them at the meeting.  Last Autumn I  shared a goodly number of germinated cyclamen coums with Sally which took us some time to pot up into modules, and are now growing on well in her nursery.  Sally therefore thought this talk would appeal to me.

The talk started off with old pictures of what the garden was like back in 1991 when with a young family Jo and her husband Tom took a farm and developed it over the years into a show stopping garden, specialising in snowdrops, cyclamen and other early flowering plants.  Pictures of what they had achieved displayed the hard work required to transfer old farm yard and breeze block buildings into a garden which many travel miles to enjoy.   Of course the garden is also designed for year round interest but as Jo's talk was about enjoying the garden in winter, we had some interesting information about cyclamen and snowdrop growing.

I've renamed the post Cyclamen and Snowdrops.  Jo Hynes has many snowdrops in her collection and is working hard on developing new crosses.  In her garden she likes to position the early flowering C. coum in her winter interest beds alongside the snowdrops.  Today (Sunday), I have repotted the Cyclamen cilicium, and made up a second pot with three small seedlings found in the pot, planted the white flowered coum below, close to Galanthus Magnet, and found some recently germinated seeds of this one too, which will spend a couple of years safely in a pot.  From another pot of coum that I had raised, with pink flowers and speckled leaves, I planted four corms along the snowdrop border.

Jo shared with us her experience of lifting and dividing snowdrops.  Of course the specials are prized and expensive, and I am sure the very choice ones are brought on in baskets or pots.  For ones grown out in the garden, Jo explained that a good time to work and move the plants is when they are dormant in July or August before the bulbs start to grow roots.   If moving in the green one has to be particularly careful not the damage the roots or the leaves, as these permit the plant to renew itself forming leaf and flower within the bulb.  Jo also outlined her feeding regime.  Taking on board her tips, I hope that my snowdrops develop well in the next few seasons.

Being the holder of the National Collection of Cyclamen, except for c. percicum, it would have been rude of me not to acquire a souvenir of the talk:

 A Cyclamen Coum with well variegated leaf and a white flower with a flushed magenta blotch at the base of its petals, which I shall plant out in the border alongside my special snowdrops.

The second plant is a Cyclamen cilicium which Jo had selected for leaf.  This cyclamen flowers in the autumn...

Now that I have got it home it looks remarkably similar in patterning to the C. coum above, so I do hope it is not the case of a wrong labeling.  I'll keep my eye on this one!  It will probably go on the sunny dry slope in the garden, but for now, I'll keep it under observation till flowering time.

Lastly because I like a challenge, I bought a packet of Cyclamen graecum candicum seed, which I planted up on the 20th Janaury!  This is one for a sheltered and warm part of the garden, or even in a long tall pot for display in the conservatory during late autumn when it flowers.

When I posted IAVOM cyclamen coums back in 2016 before we moved, I seemed to have a nicely spotted leaf, which I seem to have left behind in the old garden. Update...found them in the sunny border!

At the 2015 Autumn Malvern Show, I greatly admired this cyclamen....and maybe I shall grow one nearly as beautiful as this one!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Snowdrops from Anna

I was delighted to received some special snowdrops from Anna last week.  For each of these I have put a link to Judy's Snowdrops, as Judy's description of the cultivar is very good, and also put pictures of where I have planted them.  I fully intend, as soon as it is a little warmer, to go out and make a plan of where in the bed I have planted my special bulbs, which I have collected since arriving in Somerset.



Lady Beatrice Stanley

I need to add to the list others:

2017 Woronowii
2017  Elwesii
2018  Viridapice nivalis 

2018 from Cathy
Blewbury Tart
Mrs Macnamara

Plus lots of miscellaneous single and double snowdrops brought from Kenilworth, but planted well away amongst the shrubs etc.

Thanks to friends and purchases during visits to shows, I have sufficient specials for now. I think I shall enjoy my collection as they start to bulk up.  Having a small garden I think 9 specials is just right for me to enjoy.

Although Magnet with two bulbs in flower, has been displaying for more than two weeks...the ordinary singles and doubles out in clumps in the garden are only just piercing the soil.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Seville Nouveau

We have all heard of Beaujolais Nouveau.......

With the first Sevilles of the season, some big juicy lemons and cane sugar I give you Seville Nouveau.  A simple Seville Marmalade:  Seville Nouveau.  If you would like all the tips, and I think this is my final version do check out Mrs Mace Preserves.

Again mastering pictures taken with phone, and uploaded straight to blog....quality not great, compared to my Canon IXUS, below, but it may just be the operator.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Reviewing photographs - Wild flowers on Cyprus

For various reasons, back in 2011, when we visited Cyprus for the first time, I didn't post much.  It is only during a few minutes reviewing and deleting photograhs, that I came across the photographs and on this dark January evening, these few of wild flowers do make lovely viewing....

My favourite being the first: a cyclamen cyprium growing out of the rock face

No wonder I was looking so pleased:  not a selfie, but taken looking into a mirror

Somerset levels - January cycle

Continuing with cycle rides straight from home, I am finally getting to explore some of those long droves which criss cross the Somerset wetlands.  Whilst the narrow roads leading off the hills can take the form of hollow ways lined with ferns, down on the Moors, where the droves are flaked by rhnes which at this time of the year are full of water, they are higher than the surrounding areas.  I find the term Moor strange, as I had previously thought and experienced moors at high levels, not like these areas which are only a few meters above sea level.

Yesterday's ride of 12km, took me across the A39 Wells to Glastonbury Road, through Upper Coxley and onto Pill Moor.  In effect my cycle ride took me round Harter's Hill.  It is the first in the section of pictures below.  I am a complete novice regarding taking pictures my mobile hence fuzziness, exposure may be me or maybe I am just expecting too much from it!

There were many birds in the rhynes and fields.  On this ride there were rooks feeding in the grass, and an adult swan and two juveniles in one rhyne near Harter's Hill, which got me thinking of Wynne the widowed Swan at the Bishop's Palace in Wells, who managed to rear her cygnets single handed this year.  She has flown away, and we are all wondering whether the new swans will learn to ring the bell.  Standing out in the dull grey day were two little white egrets, a couple of herons, and what looked like a very big heron type bird, which took off in flight as soon as I came riding down the drove.  Looking up the site for birds on the levels, I see that there has been Cranes on the levels.  I will be sure to pack my binoculars for my next ride out on the levels!  

With all the stopping to admire the views, and enjoying checking on my map on the phone, the ride took longer than I had anticipated.  It was well worth it.