At the start of the month, I wrote about attempting to grow a cyclamen... something we've had surprising difficulty with, considering that they grow wild here in so many places. In the course of the post, I mentioned that I was choosing a few 'bedding plants for the winter season'.
It was not until a long-term blogging buddy, known to his public as Anvilcloud, commented on my post that I realised how much I had changed, culturally, in the past fifteen years or so.
The comment said: "Putting in bedding plants for the winter is a mightily exotic idea."
Which, indeed, it was for me, too. In the UK, we put bedding plants out around May, and hope that they might last till the end of September... if we're lucky. Here in Cyprus, by contrast, the summer heat is usually too extreme for bedding plants, so by the end of June or so, most of them have given up no matter how thoroughly I water them.
So instead, as I had learned within the first few years of living here, the best time to put bedding plants out is in the Autumn or early winter. It seemed strange at first, oddly upside down and, indeed, rather exotic. Apparently I have finally got so used to the idea that it now seems normal.
I'm not very adventurous with plants; there aren't a huge variety of bedding plants available, and I've tried some that didn't survive no matter what I did. I automatically rule out any that are daisy-shaped too... not that I dislike them in other people's gardens, but they too easily become tall and ragged here, losing some of the many petals. I prefer more interesting shaped flowers, like petunias and antirrhinums and geraniums.
I haven't had to buy geraniums for a while, because they self-seed and some of them survive right through the summer, but I did have to cut out a lot of withered ones this year. I placed a petunia and a pansy next to one of them:
Here's another pansy. Or maybe a viola, or even a polyanthus.... I'm not sure what the difference is. They don't do particularly well here but I've had them last a few months, and I do like the variegated shades:
In another planter I put a couple more purple petunias, and also a small purple plant which I think is alyssum - we tried one last year and it did surprisingly well. It's quite low maintenance and mixes well with other plants:
I watered them carefully for a couple of days, as did the visitors staying in our guest flat. God gave them a good watering too, and I somewhat forgot about them for a few days... but happily they all seem to have survived my neglect. At least, so far.
I did remove a few snails I found after the rain, and have been putting used coffee grounds around them in the hope of deterring future molluscs... but I don't know how effective it is. If it doesn't deter them, my concern is that the caffeine might make them more lively....
One of the petunias is looking very pretty in purple and white stripes:
And this pansy (or viola or whatever) is still flourishing:
As is this one, standing tall and stately in the sunshine:
The planter with the probably allysum seems to be doing well too:
In fact the only things that haven't survived are a couple of antirrhinums which I put outside the front door. Perhaps they had just too much sunshine. Not that I've had much success with anything in that particular location. I wonder sometimes if the cats sit on plants there, and thus squash them.
An added bonus was to see that our bougainvillea, while never enormous, is back in bloom again, with both pink and white bracts: