Flowering Now - Autumn Flowers

The autumn flowers are coming to an end now as we have had the first frosts and there is fresh snow on the mountains, but the display has been superb with the recent spell of warm sunny and still weather. Here is a selection, featuring a good many autumn crocus, mostly raised from seed.

Colchicums flower quite early here. Flowering for the first time is diminutive C. corsicus, with a dainty pale pink flower. I suspect the white tips to the petals are due to the bud being bleached in the sun early on before it opened.

At the other extreme, an established clump of Colchicum 'Waterlily'. This is a strong grower, but perhaps the double flower is a little too blowsy for some tastes! 

In pots I have a few seedlings of Cyclamen mirabile derived from 'Tilebarn Nicholas'. The young leaves of C. mirabile are very attractive, being strongly flushed with pink. Some seedlings have plain silver leaves whilst others have 'Christmas tree' markings.

Naturalised and self-seeding under a tamarisk tree are masses of pink and white Cyclamen hederifolium, the flowers followed by a wonderful variety of foliage forms.


Next a handful of crocuses. Naturalising nearby under a crabapple tree is Crocus pulchellus. It's probably a bit delicate for this situation, needing a little more shelter from the wind, which all too often flattens it.

All these crocuses are seed-raised and add a welcome splash of colour at this time of year. C. banaticus is unmistakeable with the delightful feathery styles and two distinctly different sized tepals. In the same raised bed, a crocus flowering for the first time. This has lost its label but I suspect it may be one of the saffron crocuses, the very variable C. cartwrightianus. I like the dark veining and the dark base to the flower, as well as the long bright orange styles. 

Here we have another 'lost label' but Crocus caspius rings a bell, though it doesn't quite fit the description. I shall have to check the reticulation on the tunic of the corms when it's died down! Whatever it is, it's forming a beautiful clump with stunning deep purple flowers.

A good doer also in a raised bed is C. goulimyi leucanthus which has three white tepals and three of a very pale mauve.

Finally a trio of plants in the herbaceous borders providing late autumn colour.  I used to have substantial clumps of autumn gentians but gradually they have died away; probably it's too dry for them and they either need more watering or a damper situation in the garden. This gentian is 'Drake's Strain'.

Oxalis massoniana is one of the better-behaved oxalis, never having outgrown its space, unlike some of the other thugs in the genus.


Finally, Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' is a favourite yellow daisy, easy and tidy with a dramatic black eye.

So that concludes the flowers for this season. Now begins the big autumn deadheading and pruning and anticipation of the NZAGS seedlist in the mail in the not-too-distant future!