Colchicum speciosum ‘Ordu’

– Posted in: Colchicums

Colchicum 'Ordu'Sigh. Whenever I see this flower, I immediately think of a ballerina, slender and graceful, with a touch of pink. According to Russell Stafford, ‘Ordu’ is “the hardiest C.speciosum cultivar, named after the Turkish district whence it came.” And yet, I can’t help thinking of the enchantress Orddu from the Prydain Chronicles created by Lloyd Alexander, despite the fact that the flower and the book character are nothing alike. I keep feeling the flower was wrongly named.

This photo was taken on September 7th, and since then the color has deepened to the same shade as ‘Violet Queen,’ and three more blossoms have emerged. This characteristic of changing color makes colchicum identification more difficult. Most colchicums seem to take two to three days to achieve their mature color, both in the petals (technically segments) and the styles, and it is easy to think you have an albino form or at least a paler form than you actually do. Bowles has a good gripe about this, concluding that “there can scarcely be a genus of plants that is harder to describe and classify.” So I guess I am in good company when I am uncertain if I have a correctly named plant, as I am with the Triplets I discussed last year, and even with the byzantinums.

While the two Queens mentioned in the previous entry seem well suited to grass, this lovely creature with the ugly name seems meant for the flower border. Somehow, just being plunked down amongst some waning daylilies doesn’t seem good enough for her, she needs a froth of dainty flowers in the background. Hmmm . . . I’ll have to ruminate on this.

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.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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