Colchicums: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2009

– Posted in: Colchicums, What's up/blooming
15 comments

You might think after a 26F freeze there would be nothing left blooming in the garden, but you would be wrong. The colchicums continue to shoot up new blossoms. Pictured above is Colchicum autumnale ‘Album’.

A vigorous but non descript colchicum lines the shrubbery and looks fine from the house.

A vigorous but nondescript colchicum lines the shrubbery and looks fine from the house.

Early on in my colchicum acquisitions, I discovered three different varieties that, to my eye, were indistinguishable. It turns out a mongrel colchicum has infiltrated the ranks, and no one knows exactly what it is, but less discerning bulb houses send it out without question. The color is a bit washed out, but it is tall and vigorous.
These are the mongrel colchicums. They grow well in grass and make a good show from a distance.

These are the mongrel colchicums. They grow well in grass and make a good show from a distance.

I find that I enjoy these as an anonymous mass planting, though they had annoyed me greatly when I thought of them as incorrectly named cultivars–impostors.

Colchicum speciosum 'Album' peeks out from hosta leaves.

Colchicum speciosum 'Album' peeks out from hosta leaves.

In general the white forms of normally pink species seem to bloom later.
'Lilac Wonder' colchicum blooms in a mass of catmint leaves.

'Lilac Wonder' colchicum blooms in a mass of catmint leaves.

‘Lilac Wonder’ is a reliable bloomer. Since it tends to flop, I plant it where the catmint foliage can give it some support.
Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' looks like a carpet of stars.

Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' looks like a carpet of stars.

Those are the colchicums that are more or less at their peak. Many other varieties have one or two blossoms lingering.

My one and only chrysanthemum, an unnamed passalong.

My one and only chrysanthemum, an unnamed passalong.

The chrysanthemum’s shaggy appearance fits right in with the last of the flowering tobacco and a few stray catmint blooms.

Mysterious Blue Flower Hanging Out with the Vegetables

Mysterious blue flower showed up in the vegetable garden. (Click to enlarge)

Mysterious blue flower showed up in the vegetable garden. (Click to enlarge)

Can anyone tell me what this blue flower is? My two best guesses are bottle gentian and blue lobelia. Not sure how it wound up in the vegetable garden.

The Johnny-jump-ups are thriving in the cooler weather. The tall border phlox, especially the white one that came with the house, has just enough bloom that I hesitate to cut it down. The frost ruined the opened blooms of black-eyed Susans, dianthus, and flowering tobacco, but new blossoms have opened since then. I appreciate the stubborn hangers-on, the ones who are willing to give it one last shot. But I know the party’s over. Time to clean up.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

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.

Optimism overrules pessimism because every spring is an opportunity to start again.

~Laurie Lisle in Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life

14 Comments… add one

TYRA October 16, 2009, 6:19 am

I haven’t got any Colchicums in my garden hm…. big mistake, they are gorgeous especially the Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’. Got to put it on my wishing list.

Have a great weekend/ Tyra
.-= TYRA´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers’ Blooms Day – Potager & Greenhouse =-.

Anna/Flowergardengirl October 15, 2009, 10:14 pm

Oh my word, that first picture is beautiful with the lighting and all. just wonderful. No wonder you liked the ones at Montrose.

LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD October 15, 2009, 8:28 pm

Kathy — those colchicums are stunning. I keep intending to plant them but somehow never seem to manage it. Don’t know what I’m waiting for when they look this good this late in the season.
.-= LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers Leaf Day: 10.15.09 =-.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens October 15, 2009, 8:12 pm

I like that ‘Lilac Wonder’ colchicum! Really, you are the Queen of the Colchicums!
.-= Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2009 =-.

Leslie October 15, 2009, 4:16 pm

I love these every time I see them! I tried to grow some white ones but they weren’t very happy here. Now that I think of it…they may be gone!
.-= Leslie´s last blog ..GBBD October 2009 =-.

Katie October 15, 2009, 2:52 pm

Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’ <-THAT IS so cool! My problem with bloom day is that I see all kinds of cool plants that I don't have and immediately want! Like colchicum!
.-= Katie´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day October 2009 =-.

Alice Joyce October 15, 2009, 12:35 pm

Kathy,
Alas, your feed is still not working on Blotanical :-(
I’m amazed that your colchicums are bloomin’… I didn’t realize they were so very cold hardy. How lovely to have them to enjoy after a freeze!
.-= Alice Joyce´s last blog ..Harvest Season, Napa Valley – Before the Storm! =-.

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence October 15, 2009, 11:57 am

Ok, there will be no end to what I need to learn… H.
.-= Helen @ Gardening With Confidence´s last blog ..October 2009 Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day at Helen’s Haven =-.

Scattered Gardener October 15, 2009, 10:58 am

Every autumn I think, must get some colchicums… love the white ones, especially. Gorgeous!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 15, 2009, 10:31 am

Joseph is right about the blue flower’s ID. I’m surprised it’s still blooming. Mine finished a while ago.
I just love all your Colchicums. What a gem each one is (well, except for the Mongrels, but they do looking smashing en masse). I think I need some white ones to grow under some Hostas. I’ll give you full credit for the idea.
.-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..After the Freeze -October Bloom Day =-.

Joseph Tychonievich October 15, 2009, 9:27 am

Mystery blue flower is Lobelia siphilitica — It is a native, so it may just have popped into your garden from some nearby wild population.
.-= Joseph Tychonievich´s last blog ..Save your Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ tubers! =-.

Joene October 15, 2009, 7:14 am

Your colchicum collection is stunning. I’m jealous. My hardy crop of voracious voles and clever chipmunks keep me from planting these beauties … I’m just not motivated enough to plant the bulbs in cages. Thanks for sharing your blooms with us all.
.-= Joene´s last blog ..Octoberfest Bloom Day =-.

Kathy Purdy October 15, 2009, 8:45 am

Joene, colchicums are an entirely different genus than crocus. While rodents find crocus a tasty treat, colchicums are poisonous to them. I have plenty of voles and chipmunks myself, and they leave the colchicums alone. Sometimes slugs will eat the leaves–that’s the only pest I’ve seen.

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence October 15, 2009, 6:10 am

Oh Kathy, these are lovely! Given the show at Montrose, I know I can grow them, but have never given it a try. H.

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