Newest Review: ... to success lies in careful planting and allowing them to make their own way in the ground. Plant about twice the bulb size in the earth an... more
Member Name: QueenElf
Advantages: Colour for the dull days.
I was doing a bit of work in my garden today in preparation for the frosty nights when I noticed patches of leaves pushing up through the soil. Now I know that the climate has gone topsy turvy and I still have roses blooming, but this really took me by surprise, I identified the leaves easily, clumped together they were none other than the spring crocus that normally wouldn't begin to appear before February. I know I haven't planted any autumn crocuses as I keep a set pattern to my bulbs so that I don't dig any up when I'm loosening the soil.
The crocus is an amazing little flower that really does brighten up the dreary days of autumn and winter. Most people know them from the bright splashes of purple and yellow in parks all over the country but I bet you didn't know that these iconic British bulbs actually came from the eastern Mediterranean area and were introduced into this country by the Romans? Since then the Dutch bulbs have taken over and there are about seventy different varieties of the crocus.
The first bulbs to be planted are the autumn crocus, which should be planted in summer for flowering in autumn. These are usually the blue and purple colours although there are some lovely species of 'Tom Blanchard', which are white with purple markings. I think my flowers are probably the winter variety, which are normally planted in October or early November for flowering in late January to early February. The last type and the most commonly known are the spring crocus, the swathes of which cover large areas with there lovely purple and yellow flowers. These flower in February through to late March and even April.
Most amateur gardeners are keen to plant the tiny corms that produce the flowers in abundance with very little effort required. They are shaped a bit like an onion with a bulbous bottom and a tapering top that peeks through the ground sometimes amongst the winter snow. If you want some different colours most good garden centres can offer the small crocuses that are bred from a Victorian gardener called E.A.Bowles. He produced a species named for birds that include 'Bullfinch' 'Yellow Hammer' and 'Snow Bunting'. There are even some striped kinds that are a pinkish mauve.
The secret to success lies in careful planting and allowing them to make their own way in the ground. Plant about twice the bulb size in the earth and if they are a bit too shallow they will make their own way downwards. Most bulbs will spread and naturalise so allow some space for them to spread. I plant mine in clumps under bushes that are bare in winter but have leafy shoots in late spring. I also have some by my roses and in amongst my daffodils. I only hope they don't flower to early or there will be few left by spring.
I love these colourful flowers and their spindly leaves which add colour to my garden. They are so easy to grow and look good in any part of the garden. You can also grow them indoors or in window boxes so you don't need much room for a lovely show. When they go over just add a few summer bedding plants to the pots and they'll happily share a pot together.
Most bulbs cost very little. Expect to pay about £3 for about 50 bulbs though a special variety might cost more.
Thanks for reading and I hope you'll give these lovely flowers a place in your garden.
Summary: Crocuses for almost every season.
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