Lily Lion Heart

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Crocus pulchellus (pretty) and Crocus speciosus (showy)

Crocus pulchellus and speciosus are found growing all around The Black Sea from Crimea on through the Caucasus Mountains and northern Turkey. They are both at their peak bloom mid-late October. Sadly our weather at this time becomes overcast and rainy for the most part.  What this means for the Crocus blossoms is flopping over from the rains, the leaves falling around them and on them and the winds.  The result crocuses laying on the ground some damaged some undamaged and some still standing upright. Given that they only bloom when it is sunny you can understand my anticipation  as I wait for them every Fall. I bathe in the pulchritude of this flower.

The flowers are purple and cup-shaped with a yellow throat and orange stigma. They both like moisture during the summer as well as a hot baking from the sun.

As I work full-time, I cherish the weekends and pray for sun as this is my only chance to see the charm and beauty of these fall stunners that evoke thoughts of treks through the Caucasus.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Nerine bowdenii


These long-blooming seldom seen beauties are the highlights of our pots in September/October. Tall 60cm stems are topped by an open umbel of 3" funnel-shaped flowers with waxy petals. They're super easy to grow in part to full sun and bloom for 4-6 weeks.  Fantastic! Nerines come from the mountains of Cape Province, South Africa. They will continue to grow indoors in a sunny window for the winter.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ode to Autumn and Colchicum and Sternbergia

Oh how I love autumn. My favourite time of the year. A time of re-birth much like spring as many plants that were dormant during the hot summer are waking up and growing or blooming. They show of their wares to prospective pollinators such as bees and flies.
The colour and light of the sky changes as it does with each Equinox. The fall sky is truly Caerulean with generally no clouds in sight. The hummingbirds have now left to make their arduous 3000km journey to their winter home in Mexico while the Monarch butterflies have also. There are still some stragglers. What fascinates me is how they gently glide through the air in traffic or in the garden. I am afraid that those left behind to enjoy these last warm days will perish. You can hear and see the kinglets and fall warblers flitting about.
Now is also damsel and dragonly time. They enjoy stitting on my stone troughs or bricks warming themselves in the autumn sun. They come in many different colours and are delightful to watch. They climb into the sky if you fix your gaze above ususally congregating in small groups. 
The first half of September started out dry and sooned turned into the rainy season. Rain the giver of life awakened some of the fall blooming bulbs after a perfect hot dry summer of baking the bulbs. The best conditions for these fall stunners.

Sternbergia and Colchicum are found in Central Asia, Turkey and the Mediterranean.  In the trade they are often referred to as Autumn crocus which exasperates me because these plants are not Crocuses nor do they belong to the same family. Don't misunderstand; I am a Crocus fanatic but they are distinct. These two genera are lovely harbingers of fall.