September 26, 2012

Colchicum cilicicum Might Be My Favorite

Of the four types of Colchicum blooming in my garden right now, Colchicum cilicicum might be my favorite.  Its color is more vivid than the others (including 'Giant', 'Waterlily' and what I'm guessing is C. byzantinum), and it has multiplied amazingly well since I planted it last year.  Of course our cool, wet, long spring was perfect weather for most bulbs to increase this year. 

The bulbs in my garden have sent out up to 6 or 7 flowers each.  They look best in a large grouping where you don't notice the lack of leaves so much.  The tulip-like leaves grew in spring and died back by midsummer.  When planting colchicums, it's easy to think only of the flowers and forget that the large clumps of leaves will grow in that spot next spring.

The flowers are mostly white when they first poke through the ground and become more colorful as they mature.  Bees like them, and so do my neighbors.  These bulbs aren't as commonly available as the spring bulbs that are filling the garden centers right now.  I've ordered colchicums from White Flower Farm and from Brent and Becky's Bulbs

I posted about C. cilicicum bulbs here last fall (including photos of the leaves), but these photos are better.  Colchicums last well as cut flowers, though C. cilicicum would only work in a small bouquet because of its short stems.


Colchicums are one of the few plants that are best transplanted while in bloom.  I moved these three bulbs this week and look forward to bunches more blooming here next fall.

September 7, 2012

The Last Lily of Summer

Lilium speciosum var. rubrum is blooming for the first time in my garden right now.  This is by far the last true lily to bloom, as the Asiatics bloomed in June and the Orientals followed in July. 

It is very fragrant.  I keep expecting it to smelly spicy like Oriental 'Stargazer' lilies, since the coloring reminds me of that cultivar, but the scent is sweeter than that.  More like a bearded iris.  Very yummy!

Although they can grow to 5 feet tall, mine are under 3 feet right now.  The bulbs probably need a few years to reach full size, and this part of the garden needs more compost to help the plants along. 

The blooms are so graceful.  I used to dismiss the downward-facing lilies, but they're definitely growing on me. 

I also have a few of the white version, Lilium speciosum var alba.  The petals on this flower aren't as recurved as the others yet, but I expect they'll keep reaching backward.  I'm very happy to have these new additions to the late summer garden.