Last Chance?

– Posted in: Garden chores, What's up/blooming

As I write, it is 68 degrees F, quite possibly the warmest it will get for the rest of the year. We did general pick-up-the-yard-before-snow-comes over the weekend, and I mapped out half of the Juneberry bed. Would like to map out the other half tomorrow or whenever else it is mild enough, but duty so persistently calls. This week it’s the quarterly reports, i.e., homeschooling paperwork. Next week, 2 birthdays and possibly jury duty. Meanwhile, I haven’t finished my treatise in several parts on colchicums. The only one still blooming is Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum.’ It’s been blooming a full month now, a record, I think. Only three other plants blooming: Scabiosa ochroleuca, Crocus speciosus and (pardon the mouthful) Malva sylvestris ssp. mauritanius ‘Bibor Felho.’ That’s what it was called in the Thompson & Morgan catalog. Absolutely stupendous when well-grown and true to type (the flowers can be 4″ across and the plant taller than 5 feet–it’s more like a bush) and still very nice when grown imperfectly (spaced too close together, for example) and reverted from the cultivar (flowers more the typical malva size). Anyway, this time of year it seems to get a second wind with a good display of flowers. Makes me glad I cut back the old seedheads and glad a whole forest of them decided to self-sow near the door we go in and out of all day long. Ah, well, back to work.

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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