Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cyclamen in Fall

I planted these small cyclamen several weeks ago on a very windy, icy-in-winter terrace, and they are thriving, with lots of buds. The cyclamen pictured are beneath crabapple trees whose little red apples are beginning to glow and whose leaves will soon be yellow. There are lots of cyclamen (small, not the dinosaurlike, huge ones) in this container-garden, under roses, and in pots on their own. There are white ones, deep pink, and this delicate one. Their sweet, lemony scent seems to lift up into the air rising above New York.

I mentioned to a gardener today that I had found lots of small cyclamen ready for us to pick up on a nursery run next Monday (we are making a trip out to my favourite perennial grower on the North Fork of Long Island, but must also pick up a lot of seasonal colour for the many people who want it). Oh, he said, I don't like cyclamen: they're pink, and pink is not a fall colour.


Instead, his list is filled with "mums" (the word for chrysanthemums in the States), ornamental chile peppers, ornamental kale, kale, kale, and some kale. And kale.


To me, seasons mean what comes with them, naturally. Change and its beauty are what makes them special. Seeing a chile pepper in a window box just unsettles me. It ain't real.

Pink is not a fall colour?

But. It is! Cyclamen bloom in fall. It's where they belong. They are real. They are natural. They look like plants. They smell good!

We associate oranges, reds, yellows with fall because of what trees, shrubs and fuit and berries do naturally. A drift of cyclamen against fallen brown leaves is breathtaking. Round balls of static chrysanthemums are not. They are like...flower malls.

Cyclamen are like boutiques.


  1. But you see, this is exactly where the difference is: you shop in little groceries stores, they shop in malls.

  2. I love cyclamens. I even have a small one on my desk, in full bloom too. A pleasure for the eyes when rainy soggy days are making their come-back.

  3. Ah, Vancouver...home of the otters. I miss it :-)

  4. I never appreciated cyclamen until I went to Italy this past spring, and where in the States, everyone would have geraniums on their windowsills and stoops, the Italians had cyclamens. I never noticed how beautiful and proud and interesting they were until that trip and now I am obsessed with getting some to plant in my yard. Yay us for standing up for such a beautiful and misunderstood plant!


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