I’m planting over 500 of the smaller crocus in my lawn for early spring flowers. These are Crocus chrysanthus (snow crocus), Crocus tommasianus, and Crocus sieberi, which all bloom before the larger Dutch crocus. I chose them as their foliage is one of the first to die back, so I will be able to mow the lawn later in May without interfering with the crocus leaves’ ability to replenish the bulb. I’m looking forward to seeing the charming crocus blooms of purple and yellow rising up from the grass next spring.
As I was doing the planting in the evening, it was hard to get good shots to clearly show the crocus corms, without shadows, blur, or bright spots from the flash.
I’m planting these in a sunnier patch on my lawn, as they do better in the light. The warmth of the bright sunlight causes their petals to open, instead of staying tightly closed. I have some small crocus in my garden in part shade. They are usually closed in the morning, but open up for the sunny afternoon and early evening, as do the larger Crocus vernus.
I tried out colour combinations by arranging the crocus packages on my floor, in the order that I wanted to planted them in the lawn. 140 Crocus sieberi subsp sublimus ‘Tricolor’ are in the middle, since they have the snazziest colour mix in bands of purple, gold and white. Their combination of both purple and gold should anchor the other purple or yellow flowers around them. In front are 140 medium yellow Crocus chrysanthus ‘Gipsy Girl’, which have maroon stripes. To the right in the front are 30 Crocus sieberi ‘Spring Beauty’, a really good looking purple crocus with darker purple on the outer petals. 50 Crocus ‘Yalta’ are on the left. They are a cross between C. tommasinianus and C. vernus, with larger flowers like the Dutch crocus, and a pretty two-toned purple blue colour. Since they are larger, I used fewer of them. At the back are 100 Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ (Prince Claus), which is white with dark purple patches on the outside. In the back right corner are 60 Crocus chrysanthus ‘Romance’, a medium yellow crocus with a silvery exterior.
Here are the crocus packages arranged out on the lawn. The sun was low and casting longer shadows, but you get the idea that they are arranged in an oval or egg shaped patch. I staggered the packages up and down a bit as I planted them. The two patio steps are not there permanently. I just placed them there during planting to avoid putting any bulbs in a few spots, so I would have some places to step across the grass without squishing crocus flowers next spring. Of course, if they naturalize and spread, those bare spots won’t last anyways.
It was a lot of fun planting the corms, and rather easy. I just dug a flap in the lawn by cutting on 3 sides, and then folded it back on the 4th side like a hinge. The holes were about 30 cm (1 ft) square, because that size was easy to work with, and about the right size to plant around 20 of the small corms. If the flap ended up shallow, I just dug a little extra soil out, and threw it back on top of the bulbs, before closing the grass flap back over the bulbs. It was very simple, and I planted 520 bulbs in one evening. We’ve had perfect gardening weather, so this was an enjoyable gardening project.
What slowed me down more than anything were the numerous ladybugs all over the lawn. I kept stopping to lift the little bugs off of the grass flaps or out of the holes before lowering the top back, and then carrying them over to place on plants in the garden. I spent more time saving ladybugs than snapping photos.
To keep the planting centred where I wanted it on the lawn, I started with the Tricolor bulbs in the middle, and then worked my way to the outer edges.
It was getting dark in the twilight as I finished, and for the last few packages I couldn’t really see which was the top of the corms, so I had to feel for the shoot at the top of the bulb before planting them in the holes. It was fairly easy to feel the tops, but it’s possible than one or two may have to make a detour around to grow upwards. :)
I won’t mow the lawn until the crocus leaves have died back Because these are the earliest crocus, that should happen fairly soon in spring. The slender, strap-like foliage will blend into the grass. Perhaps it will look even better than my grass after they have finished blooming, since my lawn is more of a close cropped meadow.
I love digging, so this planting was fun. I also planted a number of new Crocus in my garden, in between perennials last week. Some of the crocus in the lawn are the same as those I planted in the garden, and I’ve described them in that article, but I have 3 new types that are only planted in the lawn.
Crocus ‘Yalta’ is a cross between C. tommassinianus and C. vernus, ending up with the larger sized blooms of C. vernus. ‘Yalta’ is a darker purple, with the outer petals a light greyish purple. I think it should look very showy when it pops up, so I’m anxious to see it in flower.
Crocus sieberi ‘Spring Beauty’ is similar to the little snow crocus. ‘Spring Beauty’ has an especially pretty combination of light purple with darker purple marks in the middle of the petals on the exterior. I would have planted more ‘Spring Beauty’, but I could only find a few packages.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Romance’ is a medium yellow, small early crocus. The outer petals are a paler yellow. ‘Romance’ has a more subtle two toned colour combination than the yellow ‘Gipsy Girl’.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Gipsy Girl’ is the one type of crocus from this new planting that I already grow. I planted these bulbs because I wanted some yellow, and I was able to get these locally at a good price. ‘Gipsy Girl’ have a bolder colour scheme with maroon stripes, and are extra cheery when the sun is shining through the petals.
With the big spring payoff, it is very rewarding to plant little crocus corms in fall. You can tuck them into so many spots, between perennials, under shrubs, or even in the lawn. Then in the earliest spring, right after the snow melts, the hardy bulbs send up the first green shoots, followed so quickly by the bright flowers. My little snow crocus frequently live up to their name, and flower at the very edges of the melting snow. More and more blooms appear as the snow and ice retreat. Sometimes the snow crocus appear to be chasing away the last of the ice blanket. Plus, they persevere so well through any late snow storms. They simply close up their petals, and then open up again when the new snow melts and the sun returns. In a northern garden, such cheery and tenacious flowers are the perfect antidote to a long winter.
You can see how the crocus flowering in the lawn looked the next spring in this article.