Colchicum Patrol: Week 6

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

Waterlily colchicum-a flowering bulb for autumn

This is the final–and some say best–colchicum of the season.

Last but not least, ‘Waterlily’ closes the colchicum season. As I said before, I often don’t get to see this blooming at its best. We often have hard freezes by the time ‘Waterlily’ blooms, reducing it to a sodden brown mush. Yet Bob Brown, in a Gardens Illustrated article, says “if I had to choose one this would be it.” Of course, he lives in Great Britain. If your autumns tend to the British kind–meaning milder than mine–you should definitely grow this one.

This has been one of the best colchicum seasons ever, due to several factors. First, we had plentiful rain in spring. A mild summer caused the foliage to stay green longer and thus provide more energy for flower formation, then we had a hot (or at least, hotter) dry period during their dormancy, which they need. Mild temperatures and little rain for the bulk of the flowering season kept the flowers looking their best. (I noticed many blossoms had flopped over once it did rain.) Besides ‘Waterlily’, ‘Spartacus’ and C. autumnale ‘Alboplenum’ are still going strong. ‘Lilac Wonder’ and some of my impostors have a few blooms left.

Thanks for joining me on my colchicum patrol the last six weeks. It’s helped me prepare for my upcoming talk (see below). I’m a little sad to see it end, but fortunately the fall crocus (Crocus speciosus) have started blooming to console me.

Colchicum Talk This Saturday

If you want to hear and see yet more about colchicums, I’ll be speaking to the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society on Saturday, October 19, 2013. Their meeting starts at 1pm, and they meet in Room 404 of the Plant Sciences Building on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY.

More Colchicum Patrols

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

2 Comments… add one

Donna@Gardens Eye View October 13, 2013, 10:30 pm

My Waterlily is going strong and looks great.

Patsybell October 13, 2013, 2:26 pm

This has been a delightful tour. You’ve brought a “new” plant to my aattention.

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