Hats off to cy­cla­men or au­tumn roses

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES - Erica Neustadt is a lawyer by trade. She has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about green is­sues and was a found­ing mem­ber of Chal­font4Change, an en­vi­ron­men­tal group, in 2009. She lives in the vil­lage with her hus­band, Hugh, two chil­dren, two cats and 15 chick­ens.

moun­tain rocks and along gritty road­sides through­out the Mediter­ranean, where sum­mers are arid and win­ters more tem­per­ate.

Many cy­cla­men bloom, as a re­sult of that cli­mate, in the au­tumn and are hardy enough to cope with our win­ters.

Es­sen­tially a wood­land plant, as the trees above them shed their leaves and early au­tumn rains reach the earth be­low, the plants spring into life, flow­ers first, pink and white heads nod­ding on frag­ile stems.

Then as they fade, the del­i­cately- pat­terned, highly dec­o­ra­tive leaves give ver­dancy to the in­creas­ingly bar­ren soil. In fact, it is the fo­liage which give a common au­tum­nal va­ri­ety its name – cy­cla­men hed­er­i­folium – ‘ivy leaved’.

For years, I have planted spring bulbs ev­ery­where I can so that they will give me the first hint of wak­en­ing up of the soil and warmth in the air, an­nounc­ing the com­ing of longer days and more sun­shine, and I have com­pletely over­looked soft­en­ing the edges of the colder, shorter days by plant­ing some­thing which will cheer­fully and ro­bustly bloom in Septem­ber. From now on, though, I will build up my beds of wild cy­cla­men and will look for­ward to them as much as I do to daf­fodils.

To ev­ery­thing there is a sea­son.

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