Saturday, October 27, 2018

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn crocus)

Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron or naked ladies, is an autumn-blooming flowering plant that resembles the true crocuses, but is a member of the Colchicaceae plant family, unlike the true crocuses. In Russia it is called 'Timeless crocus'.

The bulb-like corms of Colchicum autumnale contain colchicine, a useful drug with a narrow therapeutic index. Colchicine is approved by the US FDA for the treatment of gout and familial Mediterranean fever.  

Autumn crocus is an interesting plant. Its seed, bulb, and flower are used to make medicine. Autumn crocus is used for arthritis, gout, and an inherited disease.
All parts of the plant, but especially the bulb, are poisonous. They cause vomiting, serious inflammation of the stomach and bowels, and even death. Handling the corms can cause skin allergies in some people.
A Colchicum autumnale bulb is hardy to zone 5. The plant is in leaf from February to July, in flower from August to October, and the seeds ripen from April to June. It is pollinated by bees, flies. 


Though known since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, autumn crocus was considered too poisonous to use medicinally and it was not until research in the 18th century that the plant was discovered to be of value in the treatment of gout. Both the corm and the seeds are analgesic, anti-rheumatic.
Colchicum prefers a rich well-drained loam in a sunny position. Tolerates to partial shadow but dislikes dry soils, is hardy to about -20°c. The autumn crocus is easily grown in grass, among shrubs and by woodland edges. I grow it among tuyas.
Do you have Colchicum in your garden? Are you careful doing with it?

source: 'Plants For A Future'

Monday, October 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers' Day in Mid-October

It's already mid-October, summer's gone and the plants in my garden are preparing to overwinter. Some of them faded but others are in their last bloom. I love this decorative bush Symphoricarpos albus or Snowberry. It blooms in summer with small pink flowers that make all pollinators happy. When comes autumn snow-white round waxy berries appear and persist until spring on Snowberry branches. Birds, small mammals eat them during winter cold months.


This Hydrangea paniculata that just a month ago was in creamy-pink colors now is brown and semi-dry. Soon at the end of the month I will cut dry flowers of hydrangea and will use them to shelter tulips from the frost.

There are blooms in the greenhouse, where temperature is higher than +14 C outside. This clematis 'Blue angel' continues flowering and the last bud of water lily is opening (I moved the basket with water lily in the greenhouse).

The paths are to be cleaned because of faded slippery leaves of Virginia creeper and apples that fall down time to time. It's my job for next days. Under the apple tree there is a sack full of red apples. Guess, how many apple pies I have to cook? :-)

Some wild plants as Solidago (Goldenrod) and Topinambur (The Jerusalem artichoke) grow behind the garden fence and look nice under the autumn sky.

The bushes are still green as this Cornus alba variegata. The evergreen rhododendrons are OK in autumn rainy weather. This one is 'Helsinki University'. Yesterday I feed all rhododendrons with potassium and magnesium for better wintering.

I finish this post showing you the last flower of the rose 'Summer wind', that grows the second year in my garden and is healthy and hardy to our climate.

What glad you in this season?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Skansen: Allotments

I continue to tell you about the open-air museum Skansen situated on the island in the center of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. There you can find objects reflecting the life of people of northern Europe in the 19 - 20th centuries: whole streets of wooden houses, sheds, mills, churches, ponds, various workshops, the rose garden, animal farms with cows, horses, geese, hens, etc. It's joy and pleasure for adults and children.
Of course it was interesting to see the garden allotments of the early 20th century. These ones appeared in Sweden immediately after the First World War. Around the turn of the 1900th century associations for letting allotments to working-class families were established. During the First World War there were shortages of potatoes and other staple foods in the cities.

Several such allotments were allocated in the vicinity of the city park Tanto, but later the number of garden plots increased, as people enthusiastically began to cultivate not only potatoes, but also other vegetables, and soon flowers appeared there.

Then it was legislatively allowed to build a small hut or a shelter on the allotment, where working families could spend the night during seasonal work. At the same time, there were strict rules governing the size and appearance of the huts. For example they could only be painted red, yellow or white.
I tried to take the detailed pictures of allotments and houses, vegetable and flower beds with tomatoes, a rock with strawberry bushes growing on it, glass greenhouse with vegetables.

It's really interesting Open air museum and was also amazing to know how a hundred years ago people relaxed on the porches of their houses after work, to see their garden furniture, tidy paths, nets around veggies, tubs with flowers, watering cans and other domestic stuff.

Here is my video about allotments:

and about Swedish farm animals in 19-20th centuries:

source: Skansen