The ants have been busy. My plant of the moment.

Once again, the ants have been busy in the woodland. It is a while since I have wandered in the woodland, because I know there isn’t anything interesting going on in there at the moment. Suddenly though, I saw some patches of colour showing between the shrubs in the back border and went to have a look, it was enough to send me rushing back to the house for a camera.

Cyclamen hederifolium near the entrance to the woodland.

I think I bought half a dozen courms about 20 odd years ago, but over the years the ants have been spreading the seed.

The ants carry the seed away, lick off the sugary coating, then leave the seed behind.

This means the new little corms develop away from the parent. It is of course possible to sow the seed and grow on the tiny little cormlets for a couple of years, but why bother to go to all that trouble when the ants do the work for us!

Nature has a wonderful way of making sure that the new plants survive.

I feel though that cyclamen flowers belong to the autumn garden, so does this mean the end of summer is nearly upon us.

Here in the UK, September is usually a good month, weatherwise, but the leaves start changing, the light in the garden is softer, it has more of a golden glow as it shines through the leaves.

So although cyclamen seem to herald the autumn, I still think they are my plant of the month for August. This of course means that I must soon tidy the woodland, clear all the debris away, apply a mulch of leaf mould and then sit back and wait for the snowdrops! There is always something to look forward to.

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16 Responses to The ants have been busy. My plant of the moment.

  1. Sally says:

    What a lovely surprise, Pauline! They look very small there are a lot of them and a beautiful combination of purple and white…..the light definitely changes in August as Autumn approaches……

    • Pauline says:

      They are tiny Sally, a lot smaller than the Cyclamen house plants that we buy in the winter. When the light changes I don’t think that we can deny that summer is on its way unfortunately, hopefully it will cling on for a bit longer.

  2. Christina says:

    There are so many ants int he garden here they are quite a problem. Maybe I would look on them more kindly if I had some cyclamen for them to plant!!! I haven’t seen any cyclamen in the the lanes yet but I think it is still too hot and dry for them. I always enjoy seeing your woodland.

    • Pauline says:

      I never see my ants Christina, the only evidence is that my cyclamen are spreading beautifully and when we see the green woodpecker on the lawn, we know that they must be around. Green woodpeckers love the ants, I just hope they spread my seed first before they get gobbled up! The woodland needs a good tidy, I must get round to it soon.

  3. Susie says:

    Nature is amazing. What fun to think your ant work force is busy at planting new surprises for you.

    • Pauline says:

      More and more flowers appear every year Susie. I think the baby corms take about 3 years until they flower, and they pop up in the most unlikely of places, certainly in places where I would never think of putting them.

  4. Denise says:

    Your ants really are doing an excellent job Pauline though I’m sure they consider the sweet seed coating to be an adequate reward! I have the ants, now I just need to buy some cyclamen and watch the ants work their magic.

    • Pauline says:

      They are, aren’t they Denise, my own little unseen workforce in the woodland! I think the mulch of leaf mould that I put down each year for the snowdrops must help the seeds to develop, I wish they could do that for me too and save a load of back ache!

  5. Jason says:

    Your Cyclamen are very lovely! Nice to know that ants are not just industrious but good gardeners. Your post reminds me of the children’s song, “The Ants Go Marching One by One”. Do kids sing that in the UK?

  6. debsgarden says:

    Nature is wonderful! Your cyclamen are delightful, and what a great surprise to find them spreading in your woodland with the help of your tiniest garden helpers. Our weather is still very hot, but this past week there were times when the humidity dropped and the air had a feeling of early autumn. Temps are predicted to be cooler this coming week, too. I am looking forward to fall!

    • Pauline says:

      I hopw your temperatures have dropped as promised Deb, I wouldn’t be able to stand such high humidity I’m afraid.
      Lots more flowers are opening on the cyclamen, I think I photographed them too soon!

  7. snowbird says:

    How fascinating about the ants, you live and learn eh? I didn’t know they carried off the seed. Yes, in a garden there is always something to do and look forward

    • Pauline says:

      I wasn’t aware that we had ants in the woodland Dina, until I found tiny cyclamen popping up all over the place! I suppose I should have realised when the green woodpecker comes down onto the lawn, he is obviously finding them there.

  8. Cathy says:

    Yes, I have never seen ants here either, and my cyclamen are spreading too – but I wouldn’t have known it was ants that tended to move the seed about if you hadn’t mentioned it some years ago on your blog

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