179 isn’t the default setting for blog titles, it’s the harsh reality of autumn.  Saturday afternoon I made a tour of the grounds and counted up 179 pots scattered about.  All of these will require some kind of attention before autumn winds down and winter settles in, and all of them seem to have appeared out of nowhere this year.  Another frightening statistic is that I didn’t even count any pots smaller than six inches, and I also didn’t count the dozen stewartia seedling which were potted up Saturday evening… just in case, you know?  Stewartia are special little things, and now if I need a dozen potted seedlings next year, it’s reassuring to know I’m prepared.

Heterotheca(aka Chrysopsis) villosa ‘Ruth Baumgardner’

The early autumn show of Heterotheca(aka Chrysopsis) villosa ‘Ruth Baumgardner’.  I love it more each year. 

But I wish I was mentally prepared to deal with these pots.  Maybe buying a box of 100 drip emitters and more tubing for the watering system was not as good an idea as it seemed, but for the moment I’m trying to move on and I’ve started grouping some of the stuff which will get the same treatment.

amaryllis outside for the summer

You turn your back once and suddenly a dozen amaryllis (Hippeastrum) show up.  I probably don’t need a dozen, but better safe than sorry is what I said some cold December afternoon… 

I’m sure it’s just the caladiums which are making things look bad.  They make up around forty of the pots, and yesterday I shut off their water to give them a couple of weeks to dry out and come to terms with the cooler nights.  Soon they’ll collapse and go dormant and I can toss them in the furnace room, but instead of things shutting down, lets talk Colchicums!

colchicum speciosum

Some kind of Colchicum speciosum.  I don’t know if it’s a cultivar or not, but it’s a favorite regardless.

We are into the middle of Colchicum season now.  I’m loving it.

colchicum aggripinum duncecap orostachys iwarenge

A late Colchicum xaggripinum  surrounded by the flower stalks of Orostachys iwarenge.  The Orystachys really appreciated the mild winter and has never looked like it actually wanted to live let alone thrive like this.

Plenty of other colchicum are popping up here and there.  I shouldn’t want more, but I kind of do, if only for mental health reasons as they carry me through to the fall snowdrop season 😉

colchicum speciosum

Another unknown Colchicum speciosum, actually this was my very first one… also not true to the name it was purchased under…

colchicum harlekijn

My new colchicum book describes ‘Harlekijn’ as having “little appeal except to those keen to amass a full collection of cultivars”.  Oops.  I was hoping that wasn’t the direction I was going.

colchicum the giant

Colchicum ‘The Giant’.  Big, robust, floppy, and a scene stealer.

colchicum speciosum album ‘Atrorubens’

Colchicum speciosum ‘Atrorubens’ on the left, and ‘Album’ on the right.  Two of my current favorites.

colchicum pink star laetum

This one came to me as white… but most will agree it’s not, and eventually the company where I purchased it from also agreed and sent me a refund.  I believe it is Colchicum ‘Pink Star’.

colchicum lilac wonder Salvia Koyamae

‘Lilac Wonder’ has been swamped by the yellow woodland salvia, Salvia Koyamae.  Normally the salvia is half dead by the time it blooms since whoever planted it put it in a dry, full sun location, not the the moist woodland which this plant wants.

So autumn, pots, and colchicums.  Not a bad week at all.  To top it off I’ll wax poetically about the beauty in death of my beloved cardoon plants.  The seedheads are ripe, and now they’re opening up to scatter their children across the landscape.

cardoon seed heads

Cardoon seed heads.  The bottom of the stalk is quite ugly, but if you focus on the top…

Ugly dead thistles might be one poetic interpretation but I prefer to ignore the possibility of a cardoon superspreader event and think that some goldfinch might fly over and find these to be the motherload of tasty thistle seed.  Thats the hope at least, but for now I haven’t seen them give it a try.  They’re still focused on the sunflowers so maybe they’re saving these?

cardoon seed heads

I suspect that’s a lot of Cardoon seedlings…

No matter.  Cardoons sprouting all over might be just what my garden needed, and as long as they don’t crowd out the snowdrops I’m willing to give it a try!

Enjoy the last days of September 🙂

22 comments on “179

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My mind needs a good dose of colchiums.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    I’m with you on the colchicums, they are fabulous and I must order a few more.

  3. Lilac Wonder flops, so it needs to grow through something. I’ve used catmint as the support, but you have to cut back the catmint after its first flush of bloom. Certain hardy geraniums (but not Rozanne, unless also cut back) would also work, I think.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, even with the floppiness Lilac Wonder is still a great plant. Other colchicums seem to start fading over the years without attention but LW just keeps doing her thing! I need to poke a few into my catmint patch and see how it turns out.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    179 is a lot! Don’t know how you do it, but you are younger than me, so I won’t feel too bad that I could never deal with so many. 😉
    I agree that one can never have too many colchicums, but at least they are in the ground and not in pots!

    • bittster says:

      If you saw the shoddy and questionable process of me bringing things in for the winter you would know how I manage to get it all done 😉 I’m sometimes surprised anything makes it!
      Caladium pots and amaryllis thrown into a corner, trash bags full of dahlias and canna roots moldering in the middle of the floor, succulents shriveling up and stretching for light… it sure doesn’t look like Longwood!
      Fortunately I’ve perfected (nearly) guilt-free gardening and losses are always replaced faster than they should be. I think in just the last two weeks gifts and ‘try this one’ cuttings have added another two or three dozen little pots to the winter garden and if worst comes to worst I could leave everything outside and still have plenty of stuff next spring.
      Actually I don’t know if I should be scared or just embarrassed by my lack of self-control.

  5. I think in my moving plants around last spring, I may have moved or killed my few fall blooming bulbs. So thanks for the inspiration. I have 3 pots of annuals, two of trees/shrubs that I am keeping from growing big by potting up each summer and putting in the ground each fall. And a couple of pots where I tossed things while I dug out plants to give away to a friend to make room for my divisions. So just thinking about your pots (and those of Loree at Danger Garden) makes me nervous.

    • bittster says:

      Well your approach to gardening is much more rational and sensible, and it shows in a beautiful and seamless garden. I tend to get caught up in plants first and then struggle to place them… anywhere… 😉
      Last week I was surveying a stewartia which needs to be cut down. It must have known because for the first time in 15 years there are seedlings under it, and now I have a dozen more pots to worry about.
      Obviously I don’t have a need for dozens of stewartia…

  6. The colchicums look great and at the time of year when you need the color the most. I am not going to make any comment on all your pots because mine will soon have to come inside the house. GEEZ! Thanks for sharing!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Lonnie! I’m lucky I have the cool garage to hide things in and get them through the worst of winter. If everything had to go in the house it would be hopeless.
      I did find someone who took three amaryllis off my hands. I’m already down to 176 pots so things are looking much better lol

  7. Cathy says:

    That lemony Colchicum is really lovely. I think your attitude towards preserving your mental health by stocking up on Stewartia and Amaryllis is admirable and I hope it helps. 😉 Now what should I stock up on to get me through winter I wonder….. so far I only have a few Pelargonium and Salvia cuttings! Enjoy the rest of September Frank! (And good luck finding space for the pots….)

    • bittster says:

      🙂 Someone gave me a few pelargonium cuttings and a pair of African Violet leaves to ‘try’. And then I potted up a few salvia cuttings as well. I’m not even trying anymore 😉

  8. Deborah Banks says:

    How did you grow a colchicum through Orostachys iwarenge? I mean it looks fabulous now but back in the spring when you had all those big strapping colchicum leaves, how did the Orostachys deal with that? Is this some magic you do with pots and mirrors? Just wondering. I have some trouble finding places where I don’t mind the big clumps of leaves that turn yellow ever so slowly in the spring which also allow those delicate little blooms to be visible in the fall.

    • bittster says:

      Well to be honest the Orostachys nearly dies each winter so while the colchicum leaves are up it’s barely there, but Colchicum xaggripinum also has small leaves unlike some of its lusher cousins so that helps as well. I would guess they’re barely six inches tall at their biggest.
      I guess my garden has so many clumps of yellowing daffs and tulips that a few more clumps of dying foliage don’t even register amongst all the mess!

  9. You inspired me to count this morning. I have a ways to go to meet you–75 here. Still, how does that happen? Your colchicums are gorgeous, by the way, but you knew that!

  10. hb says:

    That’s a staggering number of pots. I’m anxious about dealing with my roughly two dozen.

    The cardoon is not invasive for you? Perhaps frost controls all the seedlings?

    Lovely photo of the Heterotheca.

    Happy Autumn! It’s a fun time to garden.

  11. Thea says:

    New correspondent here, drawn by your comment on another’s post now clearing 1000. We grow cardoon here in SoCal down here where we can see the lights of Tijuana at night. Ours sports a purple nettle, and I’ve never considered there might be other colors. Our purple might reach the vanilla-colored stage you show were my husband not a ferocious dead-header. This constant cutting also may account for our cardoon’s non-wandering, stay-at-home attitude. The most irritating thing about the plant is people stop by and comment on our lovely artichoke, this in our garden of rare heritage roses. Enough to make one sputter, but we smile and hope folks move on.

    You seem to have a robust readership, btw.

    • bittster says:

      Hi Thea!
      Even here I have to explain away the giant thistles which are growing in the borders, but I have yet to hear anyone refer to them as ‘lovely’, the best I get is ‘interesting’ so maybe that’s a plus? That may change if they start seeding everywhere, but I doubt that will happen in this wet and cold climate. Yours I’m sure would be another story!
      Argh. Isn’t that infuriating when a garden filled with tiny perfections is completely ignored in favor of a roadside weed or a 3 for $10 perennial straight out of the Walmart garden center? I know some of the treasures here are barely noticeable, but how can you not see roses! and what kind of soul do you have if you don’t even wonder if they’re fragrant? A smile and nod are usually your best bet 😉
      I love my readership. It’s probably much smaller than you think, but it is quality… even if some of them don’t get excited as I think they should over snowdrops.

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