At last, something positive.

Having spent all summer trying to keep my garden alive, at last I have something positive to write about. It has been difficult carrying water round the garden, so eventually I just watered the pots and any recent planting which I did in May, which I wouldn’t have planted if I’d known what sort of summer we were to have. The garden was left to cope and only plants that were obviously under stress got watered. The result was that some plants coped very well indeed, but most stopped flowering to conserve their energy, which made for a rather boring garden, hence no posts for a while.

Suddenly the woodland floor is covered with masses of Cyclamen hederifolium.

The ants have been busy again, spreading the seed, the flowers are popping up in the most unexpected places.

I’m hoping that eventually there will be as many cyclamen flowers here in the autumn as there are snowdrops in the depth of winter.

Each year the corms get bigger with more flowers on them, its lovely to see them increasing without any effort from me.

I know I planted this one a long time ago, when the corm was tiny, the corm is quite huge now.

I like the mix of colours.

Some are now growing where I would never have planted them, these are in the same spot as the snakeshead fritillaries, wher it is wet and often flooded in the winter. I thought cyclamen liked to be dry?

It takes about 4 yrs from when the ants drop the seed, after licking off the sticky coating, for the corms to grow to flowering size. I think they benefit from the mulch of leaf mould that I spread in Dec/Jan for the snowdrops.

Love this dark shade of pink, there are only a couple of seedlings this colour so far.

This clump are hiding in a very shady corner, they can’t get much light where they are.

Yes, patience is a virtue, I’m happy for the ants to do all the work.

I can stand back and admire the ant’s hard work, I think I bought 6 very small corms from the garden centre about 20 odd yrs ago, each year they are getting better and better without any effort from me and at zero cost, that is my sort of gardening!

Do you have any unseen helpers in your garden?

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20 Responses to At last, something positive.

  1. Peter says:

    Cyclamen are such a cheerful late summer/autumn surprise. You sure do have some busy ants.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m very pleased that my ants are so well trained to leave the seed in empty spaces Peter! Hopefully in a few years time I will have twice as many to show you.

  2. Sue C. says:

    Your cyclamen are looking wonderful, Pauline. I have noticed a few in my garden this week but they are struggling to be seen beneath hardy geraniums and other straggling plants. I must clear them some room. You have a lovely mix of colours.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Sue, mine are in the woodland where there aren’t many plants performing at this time of year, so are very easy to see in the leaf litter, even from the house! With them all coming from seed, the colours vary considerably.

  3. Penny Post says:

    This is the second post in a few day I have seen about these flowers I’m definitely inspired to plant some of these now, especially if they multiply with relatively little help from me.

    • Pauline says:

      Many thanks for your comment Penny, I can certainly recommend that you plant a few corms. I started with about 6 and look at them now, 20 yrs later!

  4. Rosemarie says:

    It is almost like Spring in Autumn – so very uplifting and refreshing !

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Rosemarie! It is very spring like, I think a few Colchicums would make it look even better, must make a visit to the garden centre!

  5. Denise says:

    It really has been a difficult gardening year Pauline. I have unemployed ants in the garden so really must buy some corms and put them to work!

    • Pauline says:

      I have never known a year like it Denise, the poor garden is just about recovering, but we could still do with more rain. Yes, I definitely think you should find some work for your ants to do, although they do get the reward of the sticky seed coating to lick.

  6. Jason says:

    Hurrah for the ants! I think that ants are also responsible for moving the Trillium grandiflorum seed, but I haven’t had mine long enough to see if they are really at work. Your Cyclamen are delightful.

    • Pauline says:

      Before moving here Jason, I never realised how useful it was to have ants in the garden! I’m sure they also move Trillium seed, you should see the results in a few years.

  7. Lin Celoni says:

    I left my garden to the deer for a week and was pleasantly surprised by my cyclamen when I came home. Do you think we could train the ants to scare away the deer? Little tiny sling shots? I knew I was on borrowed time…now I get to start over with my hostas and sedum.

    • Pauline says:

      Nice to hear from you Lin, I’m so glad your cyclamen were flowering to welcome you home. Trained ants would be a lovely idea, couldn’t help laughing at your comment!

  8. Susie says:

    Pauline, your cyclamen are such cheerful things and dear! It is amazing how richly they’ve been spread around. Hope your weather cheers up. We finally had tons of rain and are now back to very hot and dry.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Susie, they do brighten up me and the garden when I go for a wander in the woodland. They are spreading nicely but it has taken a long time, gardening teaches us patience! Our weather is a lot better now, much more what we are used to, but the garden could still do with more rain.

  9. snowbird says:

    How lovely to see the cyclamen multiplying! Some lovely colours too. I know what you mean about trying to keep the garden watered, I gave up in the main and the veggie patch really

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Dina, more flowers are opening all the time, the woodland just gets better and better. I’m still having to water the essentials, we haven’t had much rain so far and a couple of inches down it is still bone dry. The weather forecast for this weekend says we should get more rain, so the plants and I should both be happy.

  10. Christina says:

    I’m sorry your summer was so hard; it gives you an idea of what it is like here and why I post more about the garden in spring and autumn than in summer! I love all your cyclamen, I really must find some for my woodland border.

    • Pauline says:

      The garden is planted for the weather that we usually have Christina, not too hot and lots of rain. The last time we had a summer like this was 1976, I remember it well ! Colchicum have just popped up in the border and I think I must get some for the woodland to go with the cyclamen, they should look lovely together.

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