I've rediscovered my first spring color. The hardy cyclamen is coloring up, can spring be far behind?
Most of the top parts of the epimedium turn brown and useless every winter. I imagine the heart shaped glossy leaves are probably evergreen in warmer hardiness zones. So I go out early and cut them back to provide a view of the tender new growth and I clean up the windblown tree leaves stuck around the stems.
That's when I rediscover one of my favorites, the hardy cyclamen, C. coum.
Here is a photo:
I don't know anyone else who grows the hardy cyclamen around here, even with all the multitude of Master Gardeners. Maybe they just don't care for its tiny-ness or think it is interesting enough to talk about. One expert gardener friend keeps repeating to me that there are no hardy enough cyclamens to grow here, although I have one right out in my epimedium patch. She doesn't listen much to me.
It's an odd little plant with beautiful small mottled leaves. The brown bulbous underground part sticks up a bit out of the soil looking like a half buried potato, I just leave it like that because that is what has worked. I worry that it will return every year, and make my expert friend right. The humble little thing doesn't 'leap and bound'. Its tiny flowers are petaling up right now, showing their very unusual (for our area) screaming magenta blossoms.
Cylcamen coum doesn't look like much now, but it'll perk up.