Late winter and my Cyclamen coum (above) are blooming well in their pretty little terracotta pots, many with a nicely aged patina. I have a number of these pots thanks to my mum-in-law (they probably came from her mother-in-law) and they set off my dainty bulbs so well; winter species cyclamen just now.
Cyclamen coum flowers tend to be cerise or white, and so are these; one is very handsome with white blooms with a carmine 'nose'.
I love that cyclamen can flower year-round if you choose enough species: chubby Cyclamen coum for winter, tough-as-boots C. hederifolium for autumn, C. repandum has elegant deep pink blooms in spring and round-leaf C. purpurescens flowers in summer. Hailing from central Europe (unlike the others - Mediterranean and summer-dormant) the latter is evergreen and if I let mine dry out they sulk stubbornly for quite some time. (Does this spur me to keep them watered? Well, I do try.)
If you'd like to see some of my favourite cyclamen plants check out Gardening Australia on iview; the 5 minute segment aired on 21st May '16. I showed off my C. hederifolium with completely silver leaves (above) amongst others.
Where to buy these treasures? Try Gentiana Nursery (Olinda), Dicksonia (Macedon), Hillview Rare Plants (the latter is mail-order, good news for main-landers).
They're easy to grow from seed, too - and get interesting ones from (amongst other places) the Cyclamen Society.
Most of my Cyclamen coum have lovely dappling on the leaves, sometimes forming a Christmas tree pattern.
Why have plain leaves if you can have - for cyclamen, anyhow (I'm not a big fan of the variegated, normally!) - that gorgeous marbled foliage?
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)