The crinum (below) has finally come into bloom, a bit later than normal to my recollection. Though it is marginally cold hardy I planted it in a pot, and each October I lug it indoors to spend the winter in the basement along with elephant ears and assorted other tropicals. No more! In the next few weeks I’ll plant the crinum in a slightly moist spot in the garden, and let it fend for itself. The indoor storage space is becoming too crowded, and any plant that can possibly survive outdoors will be given the opportunity.
The challenge will be in finding an appropriate spot for the crinum where it can be seen, and where the soil is not too damp so that the huge bulb might rot. For the first winter I’ll cover it with an extra five or six inches of bark chips for insulation, and we’ll see what happens.
The recent cool nights should serve as a reminder, but I’m certain to forget to bring the tropicals indoors until there’s a frost warning one evening. This year more of the tropicals will be banished to the basement rather than the kitchen and dining area. The gingers have become huge, and the bananas will barely fit through the door, so either they move downstairs or my wife and I will have to. This summer I purchased a tall, rather leggy Tibouchina (above), and though I had plans to prune it back so that it would fill in, there were so many flower buds that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Without interference on my part the somewhat bare bottom has filled in nicely. It will come inside for the winter, and will certainly get a spot where I can watch over it.
Several years ago I planted several autumn saffron, sometimes called autumn crocus. It is not a crocus at all but colchicum, and is not likely to be mistaken for a crocus since the flowers are much larger. The double flowered ‘Waterlily’ flowered nicely, then disappeared forever, but plain old Colchicum byzantinum (above) has grown and flowered reliably, and spreads a bit (but only a bit) every year. I’m certain that I screwed up somehow in planting ‘Waterlily’, but now I don’t recall where it was planted, so I don’t know if the spot was too wet or whatever else might have gone wrong. There is hardly an easier plant to grow, so I’ll probably try this one again sometime if I can remember to order them earlier than today (when they’re nearly past bloom).
The past six weeks have been exceptionally rainy, and there have been few sunny days so that many late summer bloomers have been delayed into autumn. Unless a killing frost comes early there should be no concern. The toad lilies and perennial sunflowers (in bud, above) have just begun to flower, and they will be enjoyed into October along with autumn blooming azaleas and hydrangeas.