Convergence: the act, condition, quality or fact of converging.
Cyclamen’s near the Hyatt Hotel, San Francisco
It’s what came to mind when I clicked on Julia’s Blog, Defeat Despair last week.
In late December our family ventured to San Francisco in what could best be described as a bust. Mike had the week off and wanted to go somewhere with our boys. We rode the train, then a trolley followed by a long walk, only to find a line wrapped around the building of the site we had come to see: the renovated Exploratorium.
It was a big let down, though not unexpected when you live in a large, metropolitan area. Whatever you thought to do, it seems thousands of others had the same idea.
As we were leaving the City, we stopped in to see the holiday decorations on display at the Hyatt Regency, then exited into a courtyard filled with cyclamen. I took several pictures before we headed home, and planned to blog about them the following week.
Cyclamen up close
San Francisco Cyclamen
When I clicked on Julia’s blog I felt that odd sense of deja vu. Her post “Actually See” featured her cyclamen photo, taken a decade earlier in the same neighborhood of San Francisco. Convergence. Julia lives in another state. We connected through a fellow blogger living in Canada. Yet here she was posting cyclamens from 2004 that seem to mirror my own the week before.
Have you had a similar experience?
Like dominoes, much of the garden continues to succumb to days of frost. The cyclamen, however, look terrific. The plant pictured above remained dormant all summer. As spring and summer annuals died, my trusty cyclamen bloomed again. I’ve always loved the way the flowers soft petals seem to fold in like little clam shells.
The nurseries are full of them this time of year, usually in red and white. I assumed they were all the same plant, but apparently the nursery variety are grown for indoors. Though sold as ‘house plants’, they prefer cool temps. In fact, if you keep one indoors, they suggest putting it outside for a few hours, or even overnight, to prolong the health of the plant. It seems counter-intuitive. The rest of the garden needs salvaging from the carnage of this unusual frost, but the Cyclamen crave it.
According to Garden Web:
Cyclamen [in its native habitat] is an endangered plant. Centuries of collecting from the wild have decimated populations and the Cyclamen is now protected by CITES. CITES is the Congress on International Trade in Endangered Species. It is a worldwide body set up to protect not only plants, but animals that are in danger of extinction. It is illegal to import or export Cyclamen to or from any cooperating country without a CITES permit.
I had no idea! I saw hundreds of them on display at a nursery earlier this week, so hope this bodes well for their survival. Meanwhile, this little gem is looking pretty in pink and happy in the garden. I’m inspired to plant many more.
Have you ever noticed the beauty of a flower, down under?
I’ve grown to love the view through my camera lens. The narrowed focus and clarity allow me to see things I might miss. Who knew that vibrant purple tulips rise from their stem with a subtle brush stroke of cream. Nature imitating art?
Freesias curl from a chain of looped, waxy stems. Soft yellows fade to white, then splash out an intense magenta. They’re intoxicating too, drawing my nose toward the planter whenever I walk by. I love these colors. I’m dreaming of a summer dress with a yellow bodice and a fuchsia skirt. Surely one of the fashion houses has thought of that.
Look closely. I think this Cyclamen brushed on magenta eye shadow at the start of the day. Too shy to flirt with the world, she keeps this side of her hidden down below.
Cyclamen ‘Eye Shadow’
The Tulip Magnolia sport ‘fingers,’ pulled together as if to wave at passersby (or…let’s face it), the coming and going snails. I love it, warts and all.
Magnolia Tulip Fingers
As I child I liked to view the world from different perspectives. I imagined the house as if everything were upside down. Watching clouds while sprawled on my back connected me to the world in a different way. I probably spent too much time day-dreaming, the hallmark of an introvert though I also craved real-world connections. As an adult, I enjoy both. Human connection and solitude. I’m a social being who craves unfettered time alone. What better place to find it then in the garden, down under.
The good news: I took these photos without getting drenched in the rain. The bad news: I took these photos without getting…drenched in the rain. I had such high hopes. To quote our local morning paper: “‘Rainfall Amounts Minimal’: Anticipated storm turns into sprinkle. Sigh.
The paper went on to say, “Broader downpour expected over next few days,” so I’m thinking I should go wash my car after I hang a silk blouse outdoors on the branch of a tree.
Meanwhile, three cheers for drip irrigation!
Here’s what’s blooming this Thursday:
The fairy garden is back outside, resting on the forged iron bench. I wove several fir branches along the back, and in a matter of minutes had a lovely spray of greens. Those little cyclamen prefer the cool air, so all is well.
Guess what? The pansies and bulbs remain firmly planted. I mulched the pots with rough gravel to deter the squirrels. Weeks in, it’s still working. They haven’t unearthed a thing.
Lavender still blooms, grazing the edges of the front deck
This cyclamen came back from last year, joined by two others under the Magnolia tree. The fuchsia centers just send me.
Coral Bells make my heart sing.
I’m heading outdoors to do my best rain dance. I’ll keep you posted.
What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?
We’ve got a storm headed our way. A gully washer. Serious wet stuff falling to the ground.
My UK friends are yawning about now, but “big rain” is unheard of in Silicon Valley. I’m pretty excited. Everything in the garden perks up when it rains and we are well past due. I hope folks behind the wheel remember to take their time. The roads will be slicker than usual.
Knowing we’re in for the wet and windy, I temporarily moved the fairy garden indoors. Christmas is less than a month away, so I got busy decorating for the wee ones.
I bought a pair of miniature cyclamen with my nursery haul over the weekend. They look so cute next to the tiny Blue Fescue fairy house. The ground cover is holding up nicely, but the Fescue needed a trim. That done, I “planted” sprigs of holiday greens and added lights.
Sprucing Up the Fairy Garden
In light of the weather, I moved the chairs under cover and set up a table to go with them. The “slip covers” are re-purposed wrappers from the Hydrangea. Some festive ribbon adds color to the base of the table. I think I spotted a few tiny deer drinking nearby. A few broken ornaments add a bit of cheer. I pulled some dried flowers and berries from last week’s Thanksgiving arrangement. They worked well over the entrance to the house and to add color to the table.
Fairy Christmas Table
A Lovely View
All set for the holidays!
If you haven’t tried fairy gardening, give it a whirl. It’s a fun, creative and relaxing way to garden on a small-scale. I like to challenge myself by reusing items from around the house.
- Two broken ornaments (archway, background)
- Table (empty spool, scrap ribbon, paper flower)
- Slipcovers (waterproof plant wrapper)
- Dried berries, dried flowers (a floral gift from Thanksgiving)
- Plastic deer (leftover from a children’s project)
- Slate walkway (from a broken fountain)
- Two miniature cyclamen
- Waterproof lights
SummerWinds Nursery opened their tree lot this weekend, setting up temporary quarters in the parking lot. The building, destroyed by fire last summer, is gone, but the spirit of the nursery lives on. While SummerWinds awaits rebuilding permits, they’ve set up a well-stocked shop filled with holiday greenery and a lot of red. The displays were so alluring that I briefly considered the Noah’s Ark approach to gardening: two of each! I restrained myself (sort of) and limited my purchases to a few plants and some holiday greens.
Here’s what came home:
Shooting Star™ Hydrangea (from hana bay flowers)
This plant is stunning. It’s one of the Lace Cap varieties, with large clusters of star-like flowers toward the outer branches, with smaller white flowers below. We’ll keep it indoors for the winter, then will plant it in the garden next spring.
Shooting Star Hydrangea
Zygocactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
We have two fuchsia Zygocactus living the good life in our kitchen bay window. They’re super easy to grow. They usually bloom around Christmas, hence the nickname “Christmas Cactus.” Interestingly, ours bloom twice a year. My husband spotted the light pink variety at SummerWinds, so into our arms it went. Things look better grouped in threes anyway, don’t you think? It’s bursting with blooms, a bit ahead of the two on the sill, but I know they will catch up soon.
Zygocactus in Bloom
Oh my goodness, these tiny plants are the cutest. Each one weighs a mere two ounces, standing no taller than a seed packet. I bought a pair for the Fairy Garden. Watch for their debut later this week.
Evergreen Door Charm
A lovely bunch of greens and a pine cone or three greet our guests.
An excuse to smooch.
If you live in the area, be sure to drop in. You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a peak:
Many years ago, my friend, Leslie, gave me a gorgeous cyclamen for Valentine’s Day. I was between relationships and probably feeling sorry for myself. It was a sweet gesture and a stunning specimen of a plant.
The cyclamen sat on my coffee table for many weeks, producing bloom after bloom. Then, with little warning, the leaves began to drop. I’m not one to give up easily on plants, so I tried the usual things: more water, then less water, different light. Nothing. Eventually I was out of ideas. I upended the contents of the pot into the small strip of dirt near my apartment door. Imagine my surprise a year later when the cyclamen “came back to life.” Turns out cyclamens are tubers, also known as corms. The plant had simply gone dormant.
Cyclamen corm with emerging heart-shaped leaves
Cyclamens remain one of my favorite winter plants. I planted three in colorful pots on the deck last winter so I could watch them bloom from my kitchen window. When spring rolled around, I transplanted them to larger pots and paired them with spring annuals.
As my potted darlings closed up shop in the late spring, I scooped them out of the soil and moved them to the lower garden. I found a small patch of dirt under some tall grass next to the Magnolia tree. They would be in good company and would stay cool all summer long.
It was a sweet surprise to see them back in bloom this week, refreshed from the recent rains and ready to flourish.
Shaded by the grass
What’s blooming in your garden?
Cyclamen Care. I especially like the beautiful drawing at the end of this link.
The packet of wildflower seeds we planted late spring, continue to produce a few blooms. We scattered some of the seeds in the side yard with the sunflowers and the dwarf lemon and they bloomed for months. We still have cosmos flowering in the large pot outside our sliding-glass bedroom door.
To keep that color going throughout our moderate winter, I plant cyclamen each year. They were one of my mom’s favorites, and always remind me of her. A friend gave me a red cyclamen for Valentine’s Day one year, and it bloomed for a month on my coffee table. When the plant seemed to fail, I moved it outside, but it continued to “decline.” Little did I know then that this plant is a tuber. It was simply going into its dormant stage. We have some planted outside near our laundry room and they make me smile each year when they re-emerge.