Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crocus oreocreticus

The little charmer above is Crocus oreocreticus, now in its fifth season here. It's a very sweetly scented member of the saffron crocus group. I was away from home yesterday, and didn't see this one coming. So it was a real pleasure to find these in bloom today. Today I noticed buds of Crocus medius on the way up, too.

If you don't grow the autumn-flowering crocuses, or if you know only C. kotschyanus (C. zonatus) or C. speciosus, then you are missing out on a big part of the crocus season. In mild years crocuses of one sort or another bloom from late September until sometime in March. If the winter is harsh, there will be a gap in mid-winter, but the potential for a crocus season nearly six months long is there.

In most years, the November blooming sorts are a sure thing. The December blooming ones are a bit chancier, and the January crocus are in many years as much a thing to be desired as something experienced in fact. The plants themselves are hardy, so if bitter weather spoils the bloom one year, the plants will be back in future years to try again.

Place them carefully: be sure they have plenty of sun. And group them with some thought: at the end of the growing season, there will not be much else in bloom, so give them the few companions available to make a spot of late year color in the garden.


Leah said...

Just found your blog again and plan to be a regular visitor. I grew up in Maryland, and am now in NC where many of my gardening plans are dashed by drought and poor soil. However; I do have lots of smilax! I will have to look for autumn crocus. Are you going to make an almond crown this year?

McWort said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it, Leah.

I've made several entries on Smilax - use the search function at the top right of the page to find them.

When it comes to cooking, I rarely cook the same thing twice - life is too short for that. But I'm sure there will be a variation on the almond crown appearing soon.