Flowering Now - Mid-Autumn

Straight from spring to autumn here in Central - where was summer? No temperatures in the 30s, no lounging in the shade because it was too hot to be out in the sun, let's hope this doesn't mean we're in for a long winter.

It still continues desperately dry here with only 15mm of rain in the last month. Normally a sunny border under the front window would be brilliant with various species of Oxalis in shades of orange, yellow, purple and pink but so far flowering is very sparse. The story is the same with the autumn-flowering gentians and crocuses. Maybe there is still time for them to appear if the heavy rain forecast for the next week materialises. 

One of my favourite flowers at this time of year is the beautiful Colchicum speciosum album, so much more refined and elegant I think than the more commonly seen purple form.



Two purple colchicums that do well in a raised bed are C. 'Waterlily' and C. agrippinum.
The clump of agrippinum  (below) was becoming quite congested so was lifted and some bulbs planted elsewhere. They are sulking - well, I hope they're sulking and not deceased as they haven't shown above ground yet. Maybe they will have settled in this time next year.

Here's Cyclamen hederifolium, ever-reliable under a small maple tree, and the first of the autumn crocuses, Crocus pulchellus under a crabapple.


Cyclamen mirabile is slightly later into flower with me than C. hederifolium.
The flowers can be either pink or white, and the foliage plain silvered as here or marked with Christmas-tree centres, but its main claim to fame is the beautiful bright pink flush of the young leaves as they emerge.

Apart from starting the autumn cut-back and clean-up, the main job in the garden now is seed-collecting. The seedheads on Lewisia rediviva are watched very closely as when almost ripe the whole head detaches and blows away tumbleweed fashion to distribute the seeds.
Large heads such as alliums are popped in plastic bags as they start to ripen, then shaken every so often to loosen the seeds.


An un-named Podophyllum is dripping with brilliant red glossy fruits following on from coral pink flowers. The seeds will be extracted shortly and either sown immediately or kept moist in the fridge until late winter before sowing to maintain their viability.

The kitchen worktops are covered in bits of paper with pods on, and the fridge is filling up with envelopes of seeds ("Do you always keep your mail in the fridge?" a non-gardening uncomprehending friend once asked. Yes! was the answer!)

Seed is sown immediately if it's something I want more of, or otherwise kept in the fridge until donated to the NZAGS and other seed exchanges.
Every little helps so please join in!