Every year I get a "wow" from my Hardy Cyclamens. From as early as July small pink flowers appear under my hedges where it would seem too dry and shady for anything decent to grow. By mid August they have produced an eye catching display that lasts until November. Actually they grow anywhere in my garden, seedlings even appearing in the lawn, the only thing they won't tolerate is very wet soil. We tend to think of them as coming from Turkey but I saw them growing wild by the roadside in wooded areas in Italy this September. The flowers range from pure white to deep pink and in the coum varieties to a deep red. But the best bit is the leaves, they can be almost heart-shaped or perfectly rounded with silver markings to delight you in the middle of winter, when almost everything else is looking tired.
To most of us there are two types, the autumn
flowering Hederifolium and the Winter flowering Coum varieties. I have
also planted Cicilium and Repandum as well but to be honest
you have to look hard to spot them amongst the others.
I have tried to collect seed but it is slow to germinate as it produces a protective coating and also the mice seems to find them in seed pots; far better to let them self seed in the garden. As you get more of them you may find that they get a bit overcrowded, this is hardly surprising as the corms can grow to the size of tea plates. They are easy to transplant at any size, it is best to do this in July. A few years ago I put some pea size corms in a 2" gap between the greenhouse and the path, I was desperate to stop all the poppy and forget-me-nots from seeding there, somehow it worked and now for 10 months of the year I have interest.
Don't be tempted to buy corms in plastic
bags from the garden centre, buy growing plants, that way you can select
the best leaf forms and be sure that they will start into growth. I can
honestly say that I am looking forward to early January when the Coums
will start flowering and I know that Spring is on its way.