It has been years (2007) since we have experienced a dry stretch like this one in Birmingham. Standing out in the garden holding a water hose, I am always eager for some cheering up. These two old fashioned bulbs do just that.
Cyclamen hederifolium, or hardy cyclamen, is not that Christmas houseplant we find in the grocery store. Far more subtle, smaller of leaf and bloom, hardy cyclamen are fully hardy for us and are blooming now with pink to white one inch blooms. Later, variegated leaves emerge with interesting grey to silver patterning. Blooming continues for weeks, and the wonderful foliage is present for months. The shallow tubers resemble nothing other than hockey pucks, and I have planted them among the surface roots of oak trees along a garden path. Over the years, ants have distributed seeds widely, giving me little pockets of color in unexpected places. I bought a whole flat of these little gems at the Birmingham Botanical Garden Fall Plant Sale several years ago, and they have multiplied steadily.