Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crocus chrysanthus

Crocuses are probably one of the best known of the early spring bulbs. I love them and keep planting them even though they often are destroyed by small furry things. This past fall I decided that I was done with things eating my bulbs and dug a large hole half filled it with sharp gravel, put in my bulbs along with some Repellex tablets and then refilled the hole with a mix of gravel and soil. We'll see if this works. We do have a small purple crocus that seeds itself all over the front yard. Don't know know that the one they don't bother insists on growing in the small amount of lawn we have that we actually cut. (a note on that lawn - it will probably be replaced by gravel/bricks/paving stones this summer). Anyway, back to the crocuses. The one above is 'Blue Pearl' which is just a lovely color , not quite lavender, but not quite white either. I can see by the gravel around this one that it is planted in the raised bed on the east side of our upper pond. These are the first crocuses that bloom each spring because the bed warms up fast and they get a full days sun. Because of the gravel they don't get eaten by mice/voles/etc, but they are prone to munching by bunnies. Hopefully our new resident outside kitty will take care of that problem this year.
The next one is 'Gipsy Girl' , about as cheery a yellow as you will find. These aren't the huge crocuses, but rather small, early ones that do multiply freely.

Next is 'Lady Killer'. This has always been one of my favorites. I need to get a picture of this one open. It is all white on the inside with the deep purple shading on the outside of the petals. Another one sort of like this that I don't have yet is 'Zwanenburg Bronze' which is yellow with a brown/bronze color on the outside of the petals.

Last for this morning is 'Zenith'. The lighting in this picture isn't quite right, but these are lavender/blue with a white center around the yellow stamens.
With the number of crocus species available, you can have bloom over a rather long time in the spring (also fall if you get some of the fall blooming ones). When crocuses multiply, they form the new corm on top of the old one, so if you want to help them along with spreading around in your garden, you simply have to scratch the surface a bit after the foliage dies down to get to the new baby corms and replant them elsewhere. Crocuses will naturalize in a lawn, though you can't cut the grass until after the foliage is done if you want to keep your crocuses healthy. In a less formal space this really shouldn't be a problem because they are done close to the time when the first mowing of the season need to be done, at least in our climate.
More crocuses tomorrow - there are many more than I can ever write about.

1 comment:

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

They are so pretty. I never liked the chicken wire idea but the gravel sounds like a good one. I also never knew that some crocus could reseed. That is very good to know, thank you.