A late autumn colchicum

I am quite surprised to see a ‘Waterlily’ colchicum flowering in this third week of December in the newly planted area by the greenhouse. Several corms were ordered in mid summer to assure delivery and planting well ahead of their early autumn flowering.

Instead, delivery of shriveled corms was made several weeks after others flowered in this garden, and no matter my disappointment and suspicion that these were dead on arrival, the corms were quickly planted. Several other colchicums are scattered through the garden, but ‘Waterlily’ did not survive its initial planting several years ago, so this was a second try, that should not be challenging except for the condition of the late arriving corms.

Of course, I had no clue if the corms had flowered in storage, or if they were still alive, and I fully expected the answers would not come until next year. So yes, I’m surprised, and further surprised that the flower, that typically emerges in much milder temperatures, was not immediately damaged by recent temperatures in the high teens (Fahrenheit).

I hear reports from acquaintances that early snowdrops are flowering, but mine are later blooming types. There is the barest glimpse of color today (above) from one clump, but there will not be fully opened flowers until January, typically later in the month, with others flowering through February. On occasion, there will be flowers through a light cover of snow, but blooms curl for protection in the coldest spells. Still, from first color, each small clump provides weeks of color when there’s not much else flowering.