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A Midland Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: 01 February 2009 by Diane Clement

Midland Diary No 5 Cyclamen germination continued

Cyclamen germination - the story continues

The cyclamen were sown 4 weeks ago, using the “Reading Method”.  In 10 – 14 days they had germinated, but nothing was seen above ground, as the germination is hypogeal.  This means that the roots developed first, and the first leaf (yet to appear) is not a cotyledon, but a true leaf.  The roots elongate and divide, then the tuber gradually swells and forms a shoot which pushes the seed coat up and away from the tuber.  In 4 weeks the first signs can be just seen at the surface of the gravel – usually a shoot with the seed coat still attached which will soon fall off to reveal the first leaf.  I have found this time scale to be very reliable over the past few years, for the species Cc hederifolium, persicum, africanum and graecum.  Once the shoot has broken the surface, I remove the pots from their dark box and keep them indoors, on a north facing windowsill.

Cyclamen germination - the story continues

Cyclamen are one of my favourite genera as they have such a long season of interest in the garden.  Here’s a patch of C coum with snow starting to fall today.

They are also attractive in leaf as well as in flower

Cyclamen coum leaves

Cyclamen pseudibericum leaves

Although there isnít much happening in the greenhouse, it seems to be quite colourful!† As I am always short of space, plants are often being moved around and I need to be aware of where everything is, hence the colour codes, which enable me to quickly and easily find certain plants.†

Each pot has a name label and a colour marker

I use smooth white labels that can be written on with pencil which I have found to last the best.† The name is on the front and various information on the back.†

This pot of Narcissus romieuxii mesatlanticus was from my from my own seed (O/S) and was sown (S) on 2/5/04 and germinated (G) on 5/6/04.  It was repotted Aug 05 and there were 9 seedlings and again in Aug 08 when there were 9.  This way I can see quite a lot of information at a glance from the label.  I do also keep records in a notebook in case the label goes astray.     

Some pots get a second marker label.  This one has a purple label for a galanthus and the square topped orange label is for autumn flowering plants so at any time I have an extra clue when I am looking for certain plants.  This may seem over organised, but with a large collection in pots I find it an invaluable time saver and plants don’t get so easily overlooked if they get put in a different place, which often happens!

Yellow buds

Looking round the greenhouse at the weekend, I noticed a lot of yellow buds were waiting to open.  All shades of yellow were present, with the cream of Crocus corsicus, the acid yellow of Narcissus romieuxii and the cadmium yellow of Crocus danfordiae and almost orange of Crocus sieheanus.  Strangely Narcissus romieuxii mesatlanticus is pushing out anthers and stigma first before the petals.  I suppose it has to grasp any chance of pollination in this cold weather

Yellow buds

And to finish, some seasonal flowers

Hepatica nobilis "Indigo strain" taken against two different backgrounds for comparison

Hepatica japonica a slightly creamy yellow with narrow petals

Galanthus "Mrs Thompson", a quirky variety with unstable features, this one has four outer segments and an irregular semi double inner

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