Bedding Plants of the Spring
Sunday 9:35 am, and the rain has arrived. Without plenty of sunshine much of our summer bedding lacks the vibrancy of colour enjoyed by our spring bulbs. I would happily have a border of crocus now if at all possible.
John Gerard in his 1597 Herbal describing crocus writes, “flowers of the most perfect shining yellow colour, from afar like a hot glowing cole of fire”.
Native to Mediterranean regions crocus can be used almost anywhere in the garden as long as the sun can reach them. With their neat foliage they never become unsightly, even after flowering. Their upright goblet shaped flowers of deep intense glossy colours are stunning whether planted in generous drifts or smaller groups. The flowers will remain closed during bad weather and at night, protecting their nectar for visiting bees and butterflies on sunny days.
Crocuses are easy to grow provided you follow a few basic rules.
Plant the corms 5-7.5cm (2-3inche) deep. Planting too deep is often the cause of crocus failing to flower and not readily increasing.
Crocus like a well-drained sandy loam and an open sunny aspect, they need summer warmth to remain free flowering. Plant on a layer of sand if the soil is heavy and not well drained.
Add potash when planting and they will thrive.
As well as the border crocus are spectacular in grass. Roll back a turf, add a layer of loam compost and potash, place the corms and replace, treading down the turf to remove any air pockets.
For the patio try growing some of the winter flowering varieties in pots, this adds early seasonal colour and shows the true beauty of the flowers.