Northern Shade Gardening

Crocus vernus

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Category: Bulbs
Crocus vernus through lilac

Crocus vernus through lilac

The Crocus vernus (Dutch crocus) bring the garden to life in early spring, with their bright colours. They started flowering about two weeks after the smaller Crocus chrysanthus. The Dutch bulbs might not be the first crocus to open, but they make up for it with their large, showy blooms.

Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' purple striped

Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ purple striped

Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ have a light background with purple stripes, which look great in a spring garden. For the plant size, the flowers are very large. These are one of my favourite of the Dutch crocus, since they are very showy. The flowers are about as wide across as the stems are tall.

Crocus vernus 'Striped Beauty' purple striped

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ purple striped

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ are the same as  ‘Pickwick’, with identical purple stripes, and both bloom at the same time. The picture above shows the typical silver stripe down the middle of the crocus leaves. The foliage looks distinctive when it first comes up, but is hardly noticeable when the large blooms open fully.

Crocus vernus 'Silver Cord' white flowers

Crocus vernus ‘Silver Cord’ white flowers

Crocus vernus ‘Silver Coral’ are white, with a dark purple base. I have some next to the dark purple ‘Remembrance’, which match the base colour. They are very pretty when they open, and shine in the sun. I love all the purple colour in this bed, but the white Silver Coral give a nice visual break in between. You can see lots more photos and read more about ‘Silver Coral’ in this followup article.

Crocus vernus 'Remembrance' purple Dutch crocus

Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ purple Dutch crocus

Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ is another of my favourites. The blooms are very large for such a small plant, and the purple colour is intense.

Crocus vernus 'Remembrance' buds just opening

Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ buds just opening

The buds of ‘Remembrance’ open in a beautiful vase shape.

Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' and 'Remembrance'

Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Remembrance’

Here are the purple ‘Remembrance’ behind the purple striped ‘Pickwick’. They coordinate so perfectly together, that I’m going to plant a bed next to this one with these two, and the golden coloured ‘Yellow Mammoth’ next Fall.

Crocus Yellow Mammoth gold Dutch crocus

Crocus Yellow Mammoth gold Dutch crocus

If I was naming Crocus ‘Yellow Mammoth’, I would have called it golden sunshine. It is  a yellowish orange colour when the  buds first appear, and then a bright, sunny, yellow when the petals open wide. You can see how they really shine in the light. The flowers of Yellow Mammoth hold their petals much flatter, and wider open.

Crocus vernus yellow purple white under lilac

Crocus vernus yellow purple white under lilac

My crocus are planted under a lilac tree, which is just starting to show some green buds now. You can see a section of it in the picture above. They form a bed about 2 metres (6 ft) by 3 metres (9 ft), all around the lilac. In between the crocus groups are  the hardy geraniums, Rozanne and Johnson’s Blue, which will soon be growing. The Johnson’s Blue foliage is just starting to emerge.

Crocus vernus purple yellow and white

Crocus vernus purple yellow and white

I find the spring combination of purple, white, and yellow crocus in the above photo very appealing. At the top right edge, you can just see the start of the Crocus chrysanthus section behind. These Crocus vernus are taller, about 12 cm (5  in) compared to the 8 cm (3 in) in height of those  early snow crocus. The flowers are much larger, too, about 5 to 6 cm (2 in) across.

Crocus bed with Crocus vernus

Crocus bed with Crocus vernus

The yellow and purple combination in this picture is what I want to continue across the path for next spring. The garden bed next to this one looks bare as it waits for the perennials to emerge, with no bulbs and no evergreen leaves. As I look at it now, I can’t believe I didn’t cover it in crocus corms last Autumn.

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth'

Crocus ‘Yellow Mammoth’

Here is a carpet of ‘Yellow Mammoth’ crocus.

There are more crocus combinations in this garden bed now. You can see photos of light purple Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ here.

Do you have any favourite crocus?

14 Responses to “Crocus vernus” »

  1. Sheila :
    April 21, 2010 at 9:11 am

    There have been so many beautiful posts about crocus this year. We don’t grow them in our area because we don’t get the chill they need to bloom but I love seeing the pictures of them from all you lucky people that are welcoming Spring with them!

  2. Signe :
    April 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Fantastic spring photos. In my area the crocus isnt flowering yet. This year the spring seems later than usual.

  3. Northern Shade :
    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Sheila, the crocus are wonderfully hardy bulbs, that start the spring garden with a jolt of colour. These bulbs got lots of chilling this winter. :) They don’t mind a bit of spring snow, either.

    Signe, we’ve had a warm spring, so the bulbs are earlier here than usual. Everything seems about 3 weeks ahead. After a cold winter, it’s nice to have the sunshine to bring out the bulb flowers.

  4. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Northern, your recent posts have been a wonderful lesson in the varieties of crocus (/es?), I didn’t realize there were so many! Pickwick is especially lovely.

  5. Helen at Toronto Gardens :
    April 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    You’re so right. Must always plant more crocus. Yours make a beautiful picture. I’m a fan of ‘Pickwick’, too. Any my sister has a lovely early one called ‘Violet Queen’ that has a velvety violet colour that simply glows in the sunshine.

  6. Northern Shade :
    April 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Rebecca, between the snow crocus and Dutch crocus, you can spread the blooms out over a longer time. They overlap for a while too, so you get a really full look when they are both open. The first Crocus chrysanthus are fading now, but the Crocus vernus are at their peak.

    Sylvana, the other early bulbs are starting to flower around the yard, and I can’t wait to see them all. The sight of the first blooms of the year is always so endearing.

    Helen, I will have to look at ‘Violet Queen’, since it sounds great. I’ve started making a map of where I want to plant bulbs next Fall, while it’s still fresh. At least it’s easy to see now where the bare areas next to the perennials are. It is harder in the Fall, when everything is so thick and full.

  7. Patsi :
    April 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Didn’t realize that there were so many different Crocus.
    No clue what kind I have…looks like just a mixed up batch.

  8. Northern Shade :
    April 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Patsi, mixed crocus look pretty together, since their colours all coordinate so well. I like the solid and striped ones adjacent to each other.

  9. Shady Gardener :
    April 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Ohmygoodness! Your crocus are just beautiful. What a variety of color and they’re so delicate, actually. You have planted quite the abundance! How’s your weather these days??? I’m so glad Spring is arriving up your way! :-)

  10. Northern Shade :
    April 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Shady Gardener, yeah for spring. After the barrenness of winter, it is wonderful to see the spring crocus. I love all of the colours, and the hints of swelling buds on the other plants.

  11. keewee :
    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Crocus are so pretty and I have only about a dozen in my garden. I really must plant more this fall.

  12. Northern Shade :
    April 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Keewee, I’ve been looking around my garden at the bare areas this month, and planning where I’m going to plant more bulbs next Autumn. I love the joyful colour, since the only perennial to start flowering yet is the Helleborus.

  13. Sweet Bay :
    April 26, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Beautiful crocus! I especially love your ‘Silver Coral’; such a wonderful contrast of the white and purple.

  14. Northern Shade :
    April 26, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Sweet Bay, I like the ‘Silver Coral’ in the crocus bed, since it gives a little break from the other intense colours, and makes them all look better together.

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