Goodies in the Mail

– Posted in: Colchicums, Plant info

It’s colchicum season again, both for planting and blooming. What’s a colchicum? Well, I gave this brief explanation last year, when colchicum season was in full force. Since colchicums bloom in September and October, they need to be mailed out earlier than the other bulbs you plant in the fall. My colchicum order from Odyssey Bulbs came yesterday and I planted it today. Here’s what came in my box:

Colchicum ‘Autumn Queen’–“produces 3-inch-long, checkered, lilac-purple flowers from August to September.” I’ll say–it was on the verge of blooming in the bag!

C. ‘Harlequin’–“With their pointed, twisted, creamy-white segments, blotched irregularly with purple toward their bases, the flowers (borne in September) of this aptly named and utterly distinctive hybrid really do give the impression of a jester’s hat or pantaloons. Breaks new ground for the genus.” Oooh, I can hardly wait till this one blooms!

C. speciosum–“fragrant, 3-inch-tall chalices of raspberry-purple on 4-inch ‘stalks’ in September/October.” I already have this one from another source, but I’m not sure if the other place sent me the right bulb, (one reason being they’re not fragrant that I can smell) so I decided to try it again.

C. speciosum ‘Ordu’–“The hardiest C. speciosum clone . . . bright amethyst-violet, white-eyed, early-season flowers (August/September)” I got this one because it was extra hardy and on the early side.

C. ‘Dick Trotter’–“Among the most distinctive of the hybrids in form and hue, this relative newcomer opens its rounded, rose-pink, white-eyed goblets in September.”

Colchicum giganteum–“Funnel-shaped, fragrant, rosy purple flowers in October.”

(All quotes from Russell Stafford of Odyssey Bulbs.) I planted them all in what I call the Juneberry Bed, which is anchored by an Amelanchier ‘Autumn Brilliance’. I’ve been putting the daylilies from Kathy’s Folly here, and the colchicums went in around the daylilies. I’m hoping the daylily foliage will hide the dying spring colchicum foliage. And if the autumn daylily foliage hides the emerging colchicum blossoms, I’ll just cut it back.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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