April 13, 2011

Crocus vernus, even ordinary can be beautiful

I adore species crocus, (what true gardener doesn't), but I still have a nostalgic spot for the classic giant Dutch crocus, and if planted in drifts and sweeps, they too can make a great impression.
A $2.00 border of common giant Dutch crocus, hybrids of Crocus vernus, bloom in our front yard.
These are all from close-out sale bulbs from Home Depot that were reduced to pennies for each bag of 50 bulbs. The bulbs always go on sale after mid-November, to make room for Holiday plants, are often a good buy since even if a few grow, is still a great value. These were planted in December because the soil two years ago, was still not frozen. 

Some bulbs are damaged by storage at indoor temperatures that are warm in the winter, others, not so much. So why not take a chance. Tulips may abort their flowers at high storage temperature, but they may bloom the following year. The Fritillaria below were planted in January ( in flats, in the greenhouse) because my friend forgot to plant them before the snow arrived, and now look at them! I have  bag of Narcissus that I still have to plant this spring, that never made it into the ground. They were stored in the cellar where it was cool, and most will still grow, and bloom next year.
Fritillaria meleagris, blooming in a flat. These bulbs were almost tossed into the trash, when they were discovered in January and the ground outside was frozen and covered in snow. I'm so glad that they still survived, and as soon as it warms up, they can be planted outside where they will last for years.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are best bought early in the season, and not as old bulbs.

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