The cyclamen in the Wild Garden at Brooke Hall have been flowering for a couple of weeks now. On returning from holiday in the arid south it was a bit of a shock to see them. They are only doing what they are programmed to do but there is something disconcerting about cyclamen in August.
A friend of mine who is a 'mag hag' (one who devotes her life to the glossy magazine industry) used to live in a little flat in Kennington, South London, in which everything was white. At Christmas she had five small pots lined up in front of a white framed mirror, balanced on a tiny white mantle and in each pot, springing primly from its bed of moss, was a white cyclamen. Plus fairy lights. Because of her I always associate them with the dark days indoors when the choice is - hyacinth or cyclamen, cyclamen or hyacinth.
A cyclamen in August is like a memento mori, except that instead of saying 'remember you will die', the message is 'remember it will be Christmas'.