Thank you Barry

And thank you Sissinghurst for inspiring me.

This is the photo that started it all.

Can you see the drifts of cyclamen under the tree?

Actually it was when I visited Sissinghurst in September, many years ago (pre digital camera) and was stricken by this sight.

Cyclamen, hundreds of them.  I had never heard of hardy cyclamen before this, and I was astounded when I found this pool of pink at Sissinghurst.  I knew what they were when I saw them, I had certainly sold enough of the florists cyclamen at the flower shop over the years, but these, so delicate and tiny. And pink in September….I was in love.

Later that week, I was at the legendary Clifton Nurseries, again astounded (I seemed to spend my whole holiday in England that way), that they had the cyclamen potted up for sale, and in bloom.  Oh I so wished that I could bring them back.

Like most dreams, this one faded into the mists of time, until one day a fellow Toronto blogger invited me to see his hardy cyclamen at his greenhouse.  Thus began my friendship with Barry, a self-confessed plant geek, and an unbelievably creative gardener.  And then he asked me if I wanted any of the hardy cyclamen for my garden, (he had grown them all from seed), would I?  Damn right I would!!!!

So I took them home when the tubers went dormant, he very generously gave me Cyclamen coum, and hederifolium.   Then on the weekend, the magic started.

First there were two,

and then I had white,

a darker pink,

even pale pink,

My two favourite leaves,


Just think, in a few years (ok, maybe quite a few), I will have a display to rival Sissinghurst.

Thank you Barry!

38 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Edith Hope said,

    Dearest Deborah, I am thrilled for you and how really, really kind of Barry who is a true plantsperson – knowledgeable and generous. Judging from pictures I have seen of his Toronto garden, he has much of interest and I can so imagine how you enjoy your visits.

    The Cyclamen you show are delightful and will, I am convinced, left undisturbed increase to the point where those at Sissinghurst will look a mere nothing. And yes, the leaves areas beautiful as the flowers.

    • 2

      Edith, Barry is such a doll, always giving me plants for my garden, a huge clump of double snowdrops in the spring and now these cyclamens. His gardens are just full of garden treasures, I am always drooling with desire.

  2. 3

    Lynne said,

    I love cyclamens. I love the flowers but equally I love the beautiful foliage.

    Speaking of Sissinghurst, in New Zealand we have just ended a season of a documentary following the staff, gardens and restaurant/cafe at Sissinghurst. It was mainly through the eyes of Vita Sackville-West’s son and his wife, who are permitted to live there, even though the estate was gifted to a trust of some kind. It’s been fascinating and revelatory at times.

  3. 5

    gardeningasylum said,

    Oh those are so sweet, and how nice that a lovely part of your garden has been inspired by a gardening friend.

  4. 7

    Valerie said,

    Wow…it will be interesting to see how they do. Look forward to future posts on their progress.

  5. 9

    Racquel said,

    How lucky are you! I would love to grow some of these but I’m running out of shady spots for all the great plants I have on my wishlist. 🙂

  6. 11

    Those are great little flowers. In a few years when they fill in it will be gorgeous. As for Barry, now that’s the kind of friends I like. 🙂

  7. 15

    Jennifer said,

    Hi Deborah,
    Great start on your cyclamens! I have contemplated adding them to my garden, but I think they dislike dry conditions (?) and my shaded area is quite dry. I have great luck with them in my kitchen window. The blooms last forever it seems.
    With regard to your previous post, I do not know the name of that vine, but I do warn you, that though pretty, this vine can smother evergreens and low trees with its vines. The spiky seed pods appear in late fall and drop lots of seeds! If you don’t want it to take over, you may want to collect some of the seed pods and discard them. I use the claw end of a small rake to pull the dead vines and pods from the trees. It can become quite a problem if you do not watch out.

  8. 17

    PatioPatch said,

    Dear Deborah – how nice to have a dream come true. Cyclamen are adorable with their painted leaves and hanging heads. Look forward to seeing your future pool of pink (and white). Meanwhile your cyclamen look well mulched and happy in their new abode.

    Laura x

  9. 19

    How lovely they are in their new home Deborah! I am sure your love and enthusiasm will help them multiply quicker. I trust you do not have underground varmints and that you will have a bountiful crop each year. How sweet to meet up with another blogger and go home with such treasures. ;>)

  10. 21

    Hi Deborah, I have never seen a cyclamen outside of a florist’s pot before and had no idea there were any that were hardy. They really are quite charming in the garden. (Especially the white. 🙂 )

  11. 23

    Beautiful Deborah, and what a gorgeous source of inspiration. I love the way the flowers unfurl beneath the leaves. A very special and charming plant! 🙂

  12. 25

    Melissa said,

    Deborah, I have a few cyclamen in my back yard – or at least I did. Haven’t seen them in a couple of years and am sad 😦

    It’s wonderful to have some passed on from Barry and I hope they increase for you, with abandon, at Kilbourne Grove.

  13. 27

    teza said,

    These are the true woodland gems of the garden, and I look forward every year to my tiny clump increasing. Mine is hederifolium I believe. I know Lost Horizons was experimenting with quite a few two years ago – most from Senica Hills Nursery in New York, where the owner is a bit of a cycla-holic if memory serves me. How generous of Barry!

  14. 29

    Grace said,

    I love cyclamen. Yours are outstanding.

  15. 31

    debsgarden said,

    I have been admiring cyclamen and have thought I would try some and see how it does in my garden. Yours is gorgeous, and with time will surely be as wonderful as Sissinghurst! Barry is a friend, indeed!

  16. 33

    Wendy said,

    gorgeous. I love cyclamen as well and have some planted at the far end of the slope out back. I think I’ve caught them in bloom once. Dummy me for planting them so far away that I miss them almost every year! My fave are the white with maroon.

  17. 35

    Wow, what fun to get this collection of cyclamen custom-grown from seed! I love cyclamen, although hederifolium is the only kind I seem to be able to keep in my garden, but I love it, and it seeds itself discreetly. I hope yours seed and continue to spread. Better than Sissinghust, because it’s your own unique blend of cyclamen (thanks to Barry).

  18. 37

    Jean said,

    Deborah, Cyclamen have been on my list of possible plants to include in my new partly-shady, edge-of-the-woods garden, and seeing yours is a definite push in that direction. Beautiful!

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