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’ 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’ 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 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’ is another of my favourites. The blooms are very large for such a small plant, and the purple colour is intense.
The buds of ‘Remembrance’ open in a beautiful vase shape.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a carpet of ‘Yellow Mammoth’ crocus.
Do you have any favourite crocus?