Early risers

The following was written in early February:

Outside in the garden, as opposed to inside in the greenhouse where those prima donnas from section Leonticoides dwell, there are flowers beginning to appear. The tuberous members of the genus have been slowly heading upwards since the autumn, biding their time before shooting above ground in early spring. Their above-ground lives are lived at full throttle; flowering as soon as they can after surfacing, setting seed, withering away almost overnight. For perhaps one quarter of the year they share their lives with us, the rest of the year they continue their mysterious lives tucked away under the soil. An enigmatic existence indeed.

For now let’s focus on what we can see, if not understand. The first plant I spied taking steps into the fresh air was Corydalis solida ‘Purple Beauty’. It is often the earliest to emerge; it’s lust for life and enthusiasm for the rough and tumble of above ground life unrivalled amongst the other cultivars of Corydalis solida.

Corydalis solida Purple Beauty
Corydalis solida ‘Purple Beauty’

Corydalis paczoskii, another reliable early riser, is also now in full flower. Undeterred by the unpredictability of the weather at this time of year, it has thrown caution to the wind and gone for broke. I see it’s already managed to set seed. No messing around with this one.

Corydalis paczoskii
Corydalis paczoskii

Finally, Corydalis malkensis is making a tentative appearance in it’s new home. I think I mentioned in a previous post: the second half of the garden has been most thoroughly re-arranged – something I haven’t yet documented on this blog but hope to in the future. I did this to create better growing conditions for a wider range of Corydalis and Dicentra, however the disturbance to some of the residents was undeniable. Corydalis malkensis is one of those who suffered. It had been forming a nice colony along the side of one of the beds. As part of the Great Re-arrangement, I moved C. malkensis to a new, and hopefully suitable, position. I’m sure it will settle in nicely over the next few years, but my messing around has certainly disturbed a perfectly happy, naturalistic colony. May I be forgiven for my sins.

Corydalis malkensis
Corydalis malkensis

There are many more Corydalis beginning to show here and there in their new positions. For now I have focussed only on those that have been brave enough to flower. I’m sure there will be more to see over the next few weeks; the only question is whether I can keep up with their progress.

2 thoughts on “Early risers”

  1. We have had a few peeping through here (Waterford, southeast Ireland) also – ‘Purple Beauty’, which you show above. C. cheilianthifolia, C. solida ‘Dieter Schacht’, C. ‘White Swallow’ and C. solida ‘George Baker’. C. solida ‘Beth Evans’ seems to have vanished. Mary added a few others which are planted out but the names escape me.

    1. I have a lovely C. solida white seedling which is doing well; I assume it’s from White Swallow but White Swallow itself has long since disappeared!

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