First Signs of Autumn.

Once the tiny flowers of Cyclamen hederifolium start unfurling, I begin to think that autumn can’t be far away. We don’t seem to have had much of a summer so far and already the woodland has a definite autumnal feel with all the horse chestnut leaves on the ground.


Showing through all the leaves are the tiny white and pink flowers of the cyclamen. Day by day, more flowers are showing, each year the corms get bigger and bigger.


The ants have been doing their work again and spreading the seed far and wide, into places where I would never have thought of planting them.







The woodland is looking lovely at the moment, in spite of all the dried up Chestnut leaves.

The variegated Yucca that we have on the alpine scree also starts flowering at this time of year, that is, if it decides to flower at all.


This is just the bud so far, it will open out into the most amazing spike of beautiful white bell shaped flowers. I thought it needed a good summer to form a flower spike, but last year, when we had a good summer, there wasn’t a flower to be seen. This year, after a pretty miserable summer, I was amazed to see the flower spike forming. Quite often it doesn’t manage to open its flowers before a frost comes along and ruins it all, I think it should be ok this year.


Another late flowerer is my Eucomis, rather a large one, which has a flower head which keeps bending like a banana.


The flower head is quite huge and attracts lots of insects, but I think I was too early in the morning for them when I took my photo.

I’m still waiting for my one Hedychium to flower, my Japanese Anemones and my Colchicum, all late flowering plants, so there is still plenty for me to look forward to in the coming weeks. What are you looking forward to in your garden?

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30 Responses to First Signs of Autumn.

  1. Jason says:

    Lovely cyclamen! I’m ready for autumn’s cooler weather – lately it has been positively steamy around here.

    • Pauline says:

      Cooler weather here too Jason, but we didn’t have your high temperatures to start with! It always seems as though the cyclamen come too soon, before I’m ready for autumn.

  2. Tistou says:

    First signs of autumn are definitely here! Yours are very beautiful, these little cute cyclamen.
    My cannas are very late and I’m afraid that I won’t be seeing them in bloom this year.
    I hope to see some new asters to bloom soon!

    • Pauline says:

      My Canna has a bud, but it is taking a long time opening up Tistou, I hope it manages it before the frost arrives!
      I must go and look to see if my asters are flowering yet, I don’t think they are or I would have noticed them.

  3. Cathy says:

    It is indeed lovely to see cyclamen popping up here and there – and I had to smile at your banana shape eucomis as I have one too!

    • Pauline says:

      The woodland is almost as pretty as it is in the spring Cathy, so many new plants each year thanks to the ants.
      I thought Eucomis had perfectly straight flowers and was most surprised to see the way mine is curving differently each day!

  4. Chloris says:

    Lovely cyclamen and how readily they seed around. I love the blooms of late August and September, so cheering after the dreary July garden. My tall Eucomis Sparkling Burgundy does the same thing. Have you tried growing the seeds? I read on a blog that they germinate readily. I wonder if they come true.

    • Pauline says:

      I love the way the seeds spread without any effort from me Chloris, the ants are always busy! The Eucomis seems to have straightened itself out now thank goodness and looks a lot better. No, I’ve never tried sowing the seed, but I doubt if named varieties will come true.

  5. Marian says:

    The cyclamen make a pretty carpet among the brown leaves. I particularly like the pure white ones, but best of all is the mix of colors and how they flow one into the other. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, and now even more so, as it is the end of my travel season and I can soon look forward to time at home. Today, though, I’m headed to the Dordogne, and am looking forward to discovering this unique part of the world for the first time.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Marian, they are so pretty at this time of year. What amazes me is that the new ones are growing in a very damp area of the woodland where I would never have put them as I always thought they liked it dry.
      It must be wonderful for you to now have time at home after all your travels. We were in the Dordogne a few years ago, it is a lovely part of the world.

  6. Kate Patel says:

    Lovely dainty cyclamen, the mix of white and pink nestling in leaf litter in such numbers is so charming. I don’t feel ready for autumn yet, but you’re right, it’s in the air.

    • Pauline says:

      I look forward to them each year Kate, but they seem to get earlier each year. Nature seems to think summer is over, there is a definite chill in the mornings until the sun gets going. The cyclamen are increasing nicely each year, I think the seed takes about 3 or 4 years before they flower, but the ants are doing very well for me, spreading it far and wide.

  7. susie says:

    Pauline, your cyclamen look so pretty and that Eucomis is amazing. I finally planted one this spring but it doesn’t look nearly as far along as yours.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, this is the first time I have tried Eucomis and it seems I chose rather a large variety, I think I’ll buy some smaller ones to join it next year! The cyclamen don’t need any help from me apart from a mulch of leaf mould in the spring, that’s what I like, plants that improve all by themselves!

  8. snowbird says:

    Those Cyclamen are so pretty, well done to the ants! I lost my Yucca while have fence pillars built, mine flowered randomly too, but that flower head is certainly worth waiting for. xxx

    • Pauline says:

      I never see any ants in the woodland Dina, but they must be there, spreading the seed around! How sad that you have lost your Yucca, will you replace it? I have to cut off the sharp tips to the leaves so that I don’t end up pierced all over while weeding round it!

  9. Cathy says:

    That yucca bud in itself is very pretty, even if it doesn’t manage to open before it gets too cold. 🙂 Lovely Eucomis flower. I am looking forward to my pink Aster ‘Alma Poetschke’ which alway opens later than I think it should!

    • Pauline says:

      I think it will open before the frosts this year Cathy, we don’t usually get the first frost until half way through October, 6 weeks away! I always feel that I should have more asters growing here, maybe in my border by the field, I’ll have to get some for next year.

  10. Denise says:

    I really must try some cyclamen Pauline as they would bring some late colour to the shady garden. Love the idea that they not only don’t need any attention but spread all by themselves too!

    • Pauline says:

      Well it’s the ants that spread the seed Denise. The seeds have a sugary coating which the ants love, they carry the seed away, lick off the sweet coating and drop the seed, all ready for it to sprout the following year, nature is wonderful! I think every shady corner should have a token cyclamen!

  11. Christina says:

    The Eucomis is so pretty and the leaves look like the strap-like leaves of some ferns so I admire it for that too. Every year when I see your cyclamen I wish I had planted some here (they grow on the roadsides if there is shade here); now in the woodland walk there is an opportunity to plant some so thank you for reminding me.

    • Pauline says:

      The Eucomis has now straightened up and is looking very imposing Christina. Yes, you must plant cyclamen in your new woodland walk, they will look lovely. Just buy one or two, then sit back and let the ants do the work. I have to admit, it has taken a long time to get the effect that I now have, what will it look like in 50 yrs time, pity I won’t be around to see it!

  12. annie_h says:

    Your cyclamen are lovely Pauline, you have a range of colours too, nice to see them spreading. They brighten up a shady patch

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Annie, they do look pretty, twinkling away in the shade of the woodland. Lately we seem to be getting more white seedlings than pink, not many deep pink ones at all, but they are all welcome, no matter what colour they are!

  13. Wendy says:

    Cyclamen are such a delight when so many other flowers are fading. You have so many lovely clumps of them there and it is great to hear that they’re spreading. I love the Japanese anemones, too. They also freshen up one of my tired borders.

    • Pauline says:

      The cyclamen are the only thing that is looking good in the woodland at the moment Wendy, everywhere is so dry and so many leaves are falling already. They are spreading beautifully, without any effort from me!
      Japanese anemones are also good at this time of year, but I’m still waiting for my buds to open, they are taking a long time.

  14. Anna says:

    Three cheers for those ants Pauline – they are doing a great job. Your cyclamen are simply quite beautiful. What a shame that you have not had much of a summer this year. I’ve been in the east of England for most of August where it has been dry and very warm.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Anna, the ants are doing a wonderful job, I get very worried when the Green Woodpecker comes visiting!
      Our summer has been warm but cloudy or at least the rain has been warm too!

  15. Annette says:

    Hi Pauline, we’re going to have an early autumn too but not for a lack of summer, more because of heat and drought. Your cyclamen are a joy to behold. Just spotted the first flowers in my garden yesterday while I was watering. Here too the ants do a good job. I’ve got the same Eucomis from friends many years ago and it has since made so many babies that I can give them to friends which is nice. This morning it was still dark at seven, so autumn is definitely on its way. Best wishes, Annette

    • Pauline says:

      I can’t wait to see if my Eucomis has lots of babies, how wonderful that will be! I keep spotting tiny cyclamen in areas where I’d forgotten that I’d planted them, I love surprises like this.
      I’ve just been sweeping leaves up, the first time this autumn, yes, summer is on the way out!

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