Northern Shade Gardening

Crocus Bulbs in Gold and Purple

Thursday, October 14, 2010 Category: Bulbs

Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus) provide lots of pretty blooms early in spring, just when you are starved for new flowers after the long winter. They have large, showy blooms in bright colours, and flower right after the early Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus). I’ve included some pictures of the crocus bulbs I just planted in October, and a few photos of the flowers from last spring.

There is a patch of both Crocus vernus and Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) just across the path here. You can follow those links to see what they looked like in bloom. They were such a bright cheery sight in earliest spring, that I wanted to spread more colour over to this section of the garden. The Paeonia (peony), Phlox and Campanula (bellflower) perennials in this bed won’t be up until later in spring, so these crocus bulbs will start the colour parade. Then the later rising perennial foliage will hide the decaying bulb leaves.

Crocus vernus bulbs about to be planted

Crocus vernus bulbs about to be planted

I enjoyed the purple and gold colour scheme so much last spring, that I wanted to recreate it here. This is a smaller space to plant in,  because I can’t plant between the large bearded iris rhizomes or evergreen Dianthus. I debated about either going with the extra early snow crocus for first flowers, or the larger Dutch crocus, and ended up deciding on the large Crocus vernus. Originally, I was going to try out some new types, but I ended up planting the same Crocus corms that I planted last Fall, since I liked the large flowers and bright colours so much.

Crocus vernus 'Remembrance' large dutch crocus in spring

Crocus vernus 'Remembrance' large dutch crocus in spring

Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ have large purple flowers, very bold and showy. In the picture of the packages at the top, their position is mostly hidden behind the Phlox plants. The photo directly above is from last spring, showing how cheery the purple petals are. There are 30 of these in the new section, but I wish I had put more of them at the back to balance the striped ones. If I can find more ‘Remembrance’, I’m going to extend the group.

Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' large Dutch crocus bulbs

Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' large Dutch crocus bulbs

Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ have purple and white stripes. These ones coordinate beautifully with ‘Remembrance’, as do the similarly coloured ‘Striped Beauty’. Both of these types of striped crocus are planted in front of the solid ‘Remembrance’. When planting in between perennials, I find it easiest to dig a hole for a group of 10 to 20, arrange the crocus bulbs randomly, settle them down in the loose soil at the bottom, and then cover them back up. There are 45 ‘Pickwick’ on one side and 30 ‘Striped Beauty’ planted here.

Crocus vernus 'Silver Coral' white with purple base

Crocus vernus 'Silver Coral' white with purple base

The Crocus vernus ‘Silver Coral’ bulbs are in between the two stripy versions. ‘Silver Coral’ is white with a purple base, so it is perfect for in the centre of the solid and striped purple ones. The shot above shows them from last April. At the back right of the picture, you can see how their base colour matches the Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’. There are 30 ‘Silver Coral’ in the middle, to add a little rest from all of the purple.

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' bulbs being planted

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' bulbs being planted

In front of all of the the others are 40 Crocus ‘Yellow Mammoth’. These vivid crocus are a golden yellow, with a long bloom time. Their colour looks fabulous with the purples, a bright, cheery spring combination. The yellow really pops in front of the darker colours.

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' bulbs Dutch crocus packages

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' bulbs Dutch crocus packages

I also planted another 40 of the ‘Yellow Mammoth’ next to a separate group of blue Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’. Last year the Iris were in a group by themselves, underneath a Philadelphus (mockorange orange shrub). I think the ‘Yellow Mammoth’, which bloom at the same time, will make another pretty spring pairing. On impulse, I added another 30 ‘Striped Beauty’ next to the Iris and ‘Yellow Mammoth’ group. Now there will be purple and white striped crocus, then golden yellow crocus in the middle, and blue with gold-flecked iris on the other side. I’m eager to see how the three look together when they bloom.

It was a lot of fun planting crocus bulbs over the last few weekends, since the weather has been very warm for Edmonton, and the sun was shining. It feels good to have the warm sun on your skin, as you dig in the earth, and the Fall leaves gently waft down around you, then into the planting holes. It is one of my favourite parts of gardening. I always picture what the new bulbs will look like in spring as I plant, so I made a montage below to show how it looked in my mind.

Crocus vernus composite photo

Crocus vernus composite photo

The composite photo shows how the colours of the four crocus look  together in the relative positions in which they’ve been planted, purple behind, white with a hint of purple in the middle, purple and white stripes on each side, and golden crocus in front. Now I can’t wait until next April, for the bulb procession to start. I’m a big fan of the small early bulbs to start the garden season extra early with a burst of colour. They are the perfect antidote to the blandness of an Edmonton April. All around will be the monotonous beige of late winter, but the bright crocus will sing that the garden season has really begun.

21 Responses to “Crocus Bulbs in Gold and Purple” »

  1. Lisa at Greenbow :
    October 14, 2010 at 8:31 am

    It is good to go with what works in your garden and that will always make you happy. You just can’t go wrong with any of these early spring bloomers.

  2. Northern Shade :
    October 14, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Lisa, last spring when I saw how pretty the large crocus beds on the other side of the path looked, I wondered why I hadn’t planted more on this side, since it looked so bland and vacant in comparison.

  3. Barbara :
    October 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I was just going to say the same thing Lisa did – good to go with what has worked well in the past. I love the larger blossoms, although so do our squirrels. Find that they have a much more saturated colour. Isn’t it the best planting bulbs when you can still feel your fingers?! Hope the warmth continues for you until you’ve got your garden completely to bed for the season. Barbarapc

  4. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    October 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    You’ve been busy lately!! It’s fun to do some fall planting. I’m sure your spring display will be very impressive. :)

  5. Marit :
    October 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    You will have so many beautiful corcus next spring in your garden. Crocus is so nice in the spring when it is still snow on the ground.

  6. Birgitta :
    October 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Crocus vernus ‘Silver Coral’ is new for me. Never heard of it before. The flowers look lovely.
    Birgitta

  7. Northern Shade :
    October 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Barbara, I love planting when we have a late fall warm spell. Really the bulbs should probably be buried in September here, but I’ve been lucky with October, or even a few early November plantings. Crocus vernus do have more saturated jewel colours, but I also adore the brave snow crocus for being first up.

    Rebecca, it’s been a great couple of weeks for planting. I’ve extended some garden beds, added new plants, transplanted some perennials, and buried the bulb treasure.

    Marit, yes, I really enjoy checking the garden each day in early spring to see which bulbs have appeared. You have to admire the flowers that look so delicate, yet shrug off the late snowstorms.

    Birgitta, I like the ‘Silver Coral’ beside the purple flowers, since they add a liittle lightness, and the purple base coordinates so nicely with them.

  8. The Garden Ms. S :
    October 14, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I look forward to seeing the Spring display! (And not just ’cause I’m wanting to hurry winter along) :)

  9. Northern Shade :
    October 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, when I look at the garden, I see a spring panorama superimposed on the Autumn colours now. Anticipating is one of the fun parts of gardening.

  10. Deborah at Kilbourne Grove :
    October 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Good for you! I spent Thanksgiving day planting 1,000 crocus tommasinianus bulbs. Glad it was a warm, beautiful day. Looking forward to your (and mine) spring display.

  11. Northern Shade :
    October 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Deborah, planting bulbs is such an optimistic gardening job. You bury the brown nuggets, and have faith that all that beauty will appear months later in the spring. The little bulb flowers always look nicest in large groups, so your Crocus should make a great splash next year.

  12. Christine B. :
    October 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    The is the first fall I haven’t planted crocuses in 10 years. After seeing all the gorgeous varieties you are planting, I’m really bummed out about it. Spring will be glorious for you(after all that digging, of course).

    Christine in Alaska

  13. Northern Shade :
    October 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Christine B., it makes me very cheerful to be planting bulbs in Autumn. I tend to forget the long season that comes in between Fall and Spring, since I’m imagining how everything will look in flower. I don’t even mind the digging, especially on a sunny day.

  14. Dave :
    October 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Wasn’t it a glorious Fall for planting! Must be the contrast to the fairly dreary Summer, but I also had the most enjoyable bulb planting season. Part of it was I did the heavy digging of the new beds weeks before in a cool part of the summer. Also, work was so busy and the days so pleasant, that I hardly had time to worry if the bulb order would arrive before the freeze. Seemed like the warmth would go on forever (oh well, nice delusion while it lasted).

    This year I put in almost entirely small bulbs including Remembrance Crocus. I too will be anxiously waiting to see how it does with the new Tricolor and Firefly Crocus, and whatever of the previous years survived the wet summer.

    Not much experiment this year except some new Camassia and Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ – more early summer than spring bulbs. Unlike you, all my Galanthus experiments have failed, so I thought I’d try with its closest cousin, Summer Snowflake. Probably marginally hardy here, but may be La Nina will give us a good snow cover. Have you tried either of the Leucojum species?

  15. Northern Shade :
    October 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Dave, I did a lot of puttering, digging, planting and moving in the golden sunlight. I’m always extending the borders, or changing the edges of beds, so I’m surprised I still have so much lawn left. There are places still left that bulbs could be tucked into, but the return to seasonal temperatures will probably slow me down now.

    The earliest bulbs are my favourites. The crocus are so uplifting in bloom, and they get a lot of pollinators visiting, too. I’ve thought about planting Leucojum, when I’m ordering or looking at bulbs, and even checked out some packages, but I’ve never bought or planted any. I like the look of the little flowers, but perhaps it’s the fact that they bloom later, that I always decide not to get them. I wonder if the little flowers would get lost in the rush of so many other plants flowering at that time. I would like to try some though, and see how they do. I’ll look forward to seeing how yours turn out.

  16. stadtgarten :
    October 17, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Oh, you have been so busy planting bulbs – and it will be so lovely in spring in your garden! I still have a lot of bulbs waiting for planting, I hope that the weather will be better soon. Right now it is too wet here for gardening!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Monika

  17. Northern Shade :
    October 17, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Stadtgarten, we were fortunate to have the perfect planting weather, so I was able to catch up with quite a bit. Now, the cooler temperatures are returning, and I will be covering the garden beds with the tree leaves soon for protection.

  18. M/S Design :
    October 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Det är vackert med många krokusar, vårlökar.
    Svar på din fråga om mitt maskinbroderi= stammarna och dom mörka fläckarna på björkarna är ut klippta i tyg och fast sydda på botten tyget.
    Ha en bra dag
    Mariana

  19. Northern Shade :
    October 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    M/S Design, the little bulbs are so cheery when they bloom in bright colours.

  20. VW :
    October 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Wow, I’m impressed that you brushed the dirt off your hands to take pictures while planting! I always mean to do something like that but loose my resolve when I’m huffing and puffing while digging and getting my hands all dirty. All those crocus will be great. Can you ever have to many crocus? I’m sure I’ll just keep planting a few more each year.

  21. Northern Shade :
    October 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    VW, I often forget the before shots, as I dig up a garden bed, or move plants around, and then wish I had brought the camera out. In Spring, I’m always grateful that I added more bulbs the previous Fall.

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