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Barbara’s list of favorite winter blooming flowers in Southern Mansion and Willow Creek Wineries.

Nov 20, 2012 Southern Mansion 2012

Barbara’s list of favorite winter blooming flowers for the Willow Creek Winery and Southern Mansion gardens Cyclamen. Several years ago, I became all atwitter about winter gardening; having flowers blooming year round, even in November through February.  Now for several seasons in a row, we had been blessed with mild winters, and I was feeling rather pleased with my gardening prowess. Having overwintered Gloriousa Rothchildiana , and numerous Dahlias I was confident that I was up to the task. Unfortunately my sin of Superbia, was to become all too apparent, when thwacked with a couple seasons of Outer Coastal Plain, Cape May bitter, windy, wet, and cold. Oh well, the seasoned plantswoman is used to getting her comeuppance on occasion, and being perennially optimistic I started planting something new and questionably hardy as soon as I had the chance. But as brainy, is of course the new sexy, it’s really just as well, and at the very least not boring.

Many of you are familiar with the florist cyclamen (frost tender), with their brilliant hot pink, fuchsia and white  reverse lipstick colored flowers, wonderful lovely dark green often heart shaped leaves, delicious with white marbling. Easily attainable at the local market, we purchase and place these Cyclamen in pots as decorations inside our homes.
Now each flower is on a stem coming from a growing point on the circular flat tuber of the Cyclamen. In all species, the stem is bent 150-180° at the tip, so that the nose of the flower faces downwards. Flowers have five petals, bent outwards or up, sometimes twisted, and connected at the base into a cup, and five sepals behind the cup.
What I focus on here is the hardy winter bloomers such as c.coum. Cyclamen are a genus of twenty species within the family Primulaceae, which originates in the Mediterranean areas (Turkey, North Africa etc.). I had received my first hardy cyclamens from Sunshine Nurseries’ Barry Glick (whom actually I just recall owes me about nine hundred dollars worth of plants from long ago hotel/plant barter. Since I just remembered this, (I have a constant, and extensive amount of tangents in my brain, so it’s easy to forget minutia (and just as easily to remember) I am going to request the trade amount in the taller Primulae (primula candelabra primrose)  to place in the damp shady areas around my swamp where they will be a sight to behold!)  Not to digress, but there is something really fabulous about seeing a brilliant hot pink flower poking out of the dull brown ground when the skies are despondently cold and grey. I find it a tremendous pick me up in the short days of late fall and winter, most especially in those deepest days right before the winter solstice. Also, it really does give you a sense of accomplishment to summon forth such a burst of happy color this time of year, whilst in the spring and summer it’s rather a tad redundant.
Covet, plant, and enjoy the Cyclamen in all their frivolous forms!