I'm not much of a gardener, but I do like having a few colourful flowers amongst the plants on our patio, and outside the front door. Experience over the past 15 years has taught us that some varieties - in particular petunias, geraniums and antirrhinums - almost certainly flourish, while others are less successful in this climate. So I tend to choose bedding plants for the winter season which will survive with minimal care.
I particularly like cyclamen. They're only really available as house plants in the UK, but I find the leaf patterns and shapes attractive, and there's something special about the tall stems with vivid and often colourful bracts at the top. Cyclamen ought to be easy to care for: they grow wild in some gardens, and seem to self-seed. But, to date, I have had nothing but failures with these little plants. We bought some years ago, along with various other plants; most of the others did well enough, but the cyclamen quickly faded away.
More recently I bought one to keep indoors, thinking perhaps the summers were too hot. I was careful not to over-water it, but within a couple of weeks the stems had rotted, and I could not save it.
I should probably give up on cyclamen; but, popping into a garden centre last week to buy a few petunias to brighten up the patio, I could not resist one more attempt. The plant looked healthy, and the flowers were evidently going to be white:
It's been a week, and so far it has survived, even producing quite a few white bracts:
It's hard to get a good picture without moving it - the background tends to be intrusive - but a little vignette effect around the image seems to soften it:
I'm encouraged that it looks healthy after a week. I will try and remember to post further pictures at the end of the month, assuming it survives that long...