|Crocus 'Ornange Monarch' - http://highergroundgardens.com/|
One of the undeniable jewels of early spring are the plants of the crocus family. And it is a miracle that they do so well in our northern European gardens as they are in fact a native to central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. They can also be found on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to western China.
By 1620, new garden varieties had been developed, such as the cream-colored crocus feathered with bronze at the base of the petals. Varieties similar to this are still available to buy today!
Crocus are surprisingly tough, and they do so well in our cooler, European climates because they have evolved to survive a range of environments from woodland, scrub, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra.
After the ever-popular snowdrop, crocuses are one of the first flowers to show their happy little faces in the new year. And after several months of cold, wet, and thoroughly miserable winter weather, their bright and cheerful blooms can't help but bring a smile to your frozen head.
Now, crocuses are grown from corms and not bulbs and as such do not do so well when left in pre-packed bags, exposed to the air. Therefore if you want to get the best out of buying pre-packed crocus you will need to get them in the ground as soon as possible.
|Crocus corms - http://www.srgc.org.uk/|
They are at their best planted in groups beneath deciduous shrubs or trees, or entirely in the open so that they can benefit from any available warmth and protection from the wind. This will help to encourage the flowers to open as soon and as often as possible
Crocuses are best planted as soon as possible approximately 2-3 inches deep. In lighter soils they can be planted deeper to 6 inches where summer cultivation may disturb dormant corms. Space the corms 3-4 inches apart.
Resist removing the flowers as they die back and do not knot the leaves into bunches as some gardeners do for daffodils. Leave the leaves where they are until they turn yellow at which point they should easily pull away from the base.
For related articles click onto the following links:
CROCUS 'ORANGE MONARCH'
HOW TO GROW CROCUS
HOW TO GROW CROCUS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW SAFFRON
HOW TO GROW THE SAFFRON CROCUS - Crocus sativus
HOW TO PROPAGATE THE SAFFRON CROCUS
WHAT IS SAFFRON?