April 4, 2011
Crazy for Crocus
Although crocus aren't the most exciting flowers - they're small, their colors are limited, and they don't repeat bloom - they were the only thing blooming in my March garden. And that made them fabulous!
These first photos show 'Golden Bunch', which has been in bloom for nearly a month now (surely they'd expire faster if our weather was any warmer). This type is 'bunch blooming', meaning that each bulb produces numerous flowers. The photo above shows the flowers from just 5 little bulbs that were planted last fall. I'm so impressed.
The second type of crocus to start blooming in my garden was Crocus tommasinianus 'Barr's Purple', also planted last fall. Whereas the other crocus in my garden form complete flowers low down and then send them up, this one sends up half-formed flowers that gradually fill out. They look kind of ghostly at first.
Above are more of the tommies. Many crocus are great naturalizers, which means they increase in number each year. My neighbor has lots of crocus as well, including some of the pure white and lavender-and-white striped types. Since she planted them five years ago, the clumps have expanded quite a bit. Can't wait to see how much mine increase in future years.
These last couple of photos show 'Grand Maitre' crocuses, which I picked up at Costco last fall. I think the bag contained 50 or 100 bulbs for about $14, which is a great deal either way. The only drawback to Costco is their limited selection, whereas Brent & Becky's Bulbs offers 36 different types of spring-blooming crocus.
I've been marking up pages in the B&B catalog to remind me which crocus to order for fall planting this year - more of the same types that I already have, to fill in empty spots. Might as well make March as colorful as possible! The small bulbs are easy to tuck in around perennials and shrubs, and they're much less work to plant than others since they only go 4" deep. Now my other small bulbs are starting to bloom - Chionodoxa, Scilla and Galanthus. I'll post pictures of them next week.