Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus) are one of the first bulbs to flower in spring, with delicate little petals in cheery colours. The only bulbs in my garden that flowered earlier this year were the Galanthus (snowdrops). I look forward to the sight of all of these miniature flowers appearing as the snow melts. Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus) flowers are double the size of the snow crocus. However, even though each snow crocus flower is small, as a large drift they make a wonderful patchwork of colour against the brown of last fall’s leaves. I have a large patch of Crocus planted in my lawn as well.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Gipsy Girl’ has medium yellow petals, and on the outside there are zippy maroon coloured stripes that show up well when the petals are closed. In the brightest light of day, the petals open wide to show a glowing yellow, and the contrasting stripes are not very visible. Instead, there are golden anthers in each cup.
In early morning, evening, or on a cloudy day, the petals fold upright, so the stripes on the outside make them a little more flamboyant. In the picture above you can see how the coloured lines curve up to the petal tips.
Here you can see a group of yellow ‘Gipsy Girl’ snow crocus in the front, with the pale blue colour of ‘Blue Pearl’ behind.
Above you can see the petals of ‘Gipsy Girl’ opening as the sun hits them. Last year, the ‘Gipsy Girl’ and the similar looking ‘Fuscotinctus’ crocus were about the same size, but this year the ‘Gipsy Girl’ flowers are almost twice as big. If I plant any more next fall, I would go with ‘Gipsy Girl’ instead of Fuscotinctus’.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Fuscotinctus’ is another snow crocus with a bright yellow colour embellished with contrasting maroon stripes on the outside of the petals. The petals are a little darker than ‘Gipsy Girl’, so if you want a more golden coloured snow crocus these are a good choice.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ has delicate shadings of soft, butter yellow and cream. These look great with other darker yellow flowers, or with light colours like ‘Blue Pearl’.
Here the Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ have a bit of dappled light, under the bare branches of a maple tree. The crocus would not be as decorative in the shade, with their petals always folded, but in early spring, they do well before the leaves come out on the trees.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Pearl’ is a real chameleon of a crocus. In bright light it looks all white, with no hint of its name. However, when the sun is low, or with a few shadows, it can appear very blue. The outside of the petals are more blue, so the colour is more pronounced when they start to fold in dimmer light.
My Crocus chrysanthus ‘Snow Bunting’ flowered first this year, perhaps because the snow melted a little quicker in this area of the garden. Their white petals are beautiful in the bright sun, and they show up perfectly against the dark earth. Inside at the base, the bottom of the petals have a gold coloured ring to match the anthers.
These crocus are planted in between hardy geraniums, which are still underground. I planted these in holes dug around the perennials, around 15 to 20 per hole. There are around 200 Crocus chrysanthus, and 200 Crocus vernus in this section. As the crocus fade away through spring, the geraniums start emerging, and cover the fading bulb foliage. In the centre is a lilac, with leaf buds that are just starting to swell. The layering of a small lilac shrub above, hardy geranium ‘Rozanne’ perennials under, and snow crocus and Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus) bulbs between has been very successful, and one that I can recommend. Here are some more Crocus chrysanthus photos and information from last year.
I’m very pleased with how the cheery little snow crocus are flourishing. They have come back with more and larger flowers this year, despite a harsh winter. Since some bulbs tend to fade away year after year, it is great to see the snow crocus getting better as they settle in. They make a wonderful start to the gardening year.