15 September 2014
Autumn flowering cyclamen
As the chill in the morning air is becoming more common, our
thoughts at Allt-y-bela are turning towards autumn flowers and
spring bulbs. Allt-y-bela is not just Arne's home, it is a proving
ground for new plants and ideas and as such we are constantly
reviewing the performance of the beds, borders and gardens and
making adjustments and changes.
The courtyard at Allt-y-bela was conceived as a jewel box of unusual and choice plants framed by box topiary, roses and pleached crab apples. Recently, self-set dark leafed Ajuga has begun to carpet some of the ground at one end and although the effect is rather striking we have decided to remove it and re-focus attention on bulbs. With this in mind we have purchased some autumn flowering cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) to add some much needed autumn colour.
Autumn flowering cyclamen flower before the leaves emerge and have a huge diversity of colour in the flowers so buying them now, in flower, is a good way of ensuring that you achieve the effect you are looking for. We visited a local nursery and were able to choose from a huge tonal variety of plants. It takes a little time before you tune in to the differences between the plants but it really is essential to take a little time over choosing them. We came away with about 150 new cyclamen, not only for the courtyard but also for other areas of the garden, each having been selected for their individual attributes.
The original plan was to use a combination of pinks and whites with the emphasis on the pinks but after further thought we decided to use pinks in the courtyard and save the whites for the edges of the garden where their brightness will draw the eye out.
The colour range within the pinks is quite extraordinary ranging from the very dark fuchsia to incredibly pale pink via a plethora of clear bright tones and dirtier colours. All have a variety of veining and there are form and habit differences from plant to plant. We sought to select a range which represents some of the diversity present within the species.
When planting any bulbs or corms which you hope to naturalise it is important to modulate your planting in order to replicate the way that plant communities develop and here in the courtyard we tried to create this effect. I'm looking forward now to spring to see the other bulbs in the garden for the very first time and to see how this addition adds to the year round effect. It certainly looks very striking today in the autumn sunlight.
Words: Steve Lannin, Gardener at Allt-y-bela
Photos: Britt Willoughby Dyer