Northern Shade Gardening

Combinations of Crocus Flowers in the Garden

Saturday, May 25, 2013 Category: Bulbs
large Dutch crocus in purple

large Dutch crocus in purple

I added some new crocus to the garden last fall, adjacent to some established ones, so that made a nice sweep of colour from early May. After an extended winter, all of the bulbs came out at once, and the garden was full of beautiful crocus flower combinations.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus' and Crocus sieberi 'Tricolor' behind

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ and Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’ behind

Here are two shorter crocus. In front is Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ and behind is Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’. ‘Prins Claus’ is mostly white with some purple on the outside of its petals, which matches to the more saturated purple ‘Tricolor’. ‘Tricolor is one of my new favourites, with its purple, gold and white zones of colour.

Crocus vernus 'Striped Beauty' and Crocus vernus 'Vanguard'

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ and Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ in the front and Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ behind make a pretty purple and white crocus combination. ‘Striped Beauty’ has a white background on the petals with dark purple striped running through them, while ‘Vanguard’ alternates between mauve and silver gray petals. I’m very pleased with the look of these two together. I have other areas where this striped crocus is combined with a dark purple crocus, but I would repeat this combination again.

purple and white crocus

purple and white crocus

A closeup of ‘Striped Beauty’ and ‘Vanguard’ shows how the colours are similar, with varying patterns.

Crocus 'Vanguard' 'Silver Coral' Yellow Mammoth' 'Striped 'Beauty'

Crocus ‘Vanguard’ ‘Silver Coral’ Yellow Mammoth’ ‘Striped ‘Beauty’

Here’s a section of purple crocus around the golden yellow Crocus x luteus ‘Yellow Mammoth’. In the front are ‘Vanguard’, Striped Beauty’ is behind, and ‘Silver Coral’ is the mostly white crocus in the middle.

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' and Crocus vernus 'Pickwick'

Crocus ‘Yellow Mammoth’ and Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’

Crocus can be very eye catching in a contrasting colour scheme of gold and purple. ‘Yellow Mammoth’ is shining in front, and another striped purple crocus, Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ is in back.

large crocus in garden

large crocus in garden

‘Yellow Mammoth’ makes a strong contrast to the solid purple Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ at the back of this picture.

yellow Crocus chrysanthus 'Fuscotinctus' surrounded by other crocus

yellow Crocus chrysanthus ‘Fuscotinctus’ surrounded by other crocus

This combination has more yellow in it, with the smaller Crocus chrysanthus ‘Fuscotinctus’ in the middle. When the petals on ‘Fuscotinctus’ are closed, they show maroon stripes on the outside, but the stripes are not showing up well in the picture above. They are usually earlier flowering than the larger crocus, with only a bit of overlap in bloom time in the garden.

Crocus vernus 'Vanguard' 'Striped Beauty' 'Remembrance'

Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ ‘Striped Beauty’ ‘Remembrance’

This combination of three Crocus vernus goes from light crocus flowers in the front to dark purple at the back.

crocus mixed in garden

crocus mixed in garden

The picture above was taken before my garden cleanup, so you can see how amiable crocus bulbs are about coming up thorough anything in the garden, including layers of fall leaves. Those long slender leaves pierce holes in the garden debris, and the flower buds poke their petals through, or the flowers just push the layers up like rakish hats, and then toss them to the side.

Crocus vernus .Vanguard' and other light purple crocus

Crocus vernus Vanguard’ and other light purple crocus

Here the sunlight is streaming through the flower petals, showing a delicate flower look, belying the actual hardy nature of crocus. Usually if it snows after the flowers have opened, they just close up and wait for warmer weather to open them again.

purple Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' and 'Yellow Mammoth'

purple Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Yellow Mammoth’

The picture above shows how vibrant ‘Pickwick’ with ‘Yellow Mammoth’ flowers look together, with their purple and yellow combination. Crocus leaves look good, too, with their distinctive silver racing stripe down the middle of each blade.

mixed Crocus vernus in garden

mixed Crocus vernus in garden

This photo is  looking across part of the garden with lots of purple crocus flowers and some gold highlights.

crocus in garden

crocus in garden

The Crocus vernus are at the front here, and in the back  of the photo are some of the smaller Crocus chrysanthus(snow crocus). The gaps are where some perennials are planted that will come up later. There is a peony, some Phlox, and a number of Campanula (bellflowers). On the far side of the photo, the crocus are planted in between some hardy Geranium ‘Roseanne’, more Campanula, and under a lilac.

mixed white yellow and purple crocus

mixed white yellow and purple crocus

Here are more of the later crocus enjoying the sun’s rays. It’s a good thing that the crocus flower early before the tree leaves fill in and increase the shade in this garden bed.

pretty crocus in garden

pretty crocus in garden

In the front right corner of this picture are some Crocus tommasinianus that were fading. They came out very early, but didn’t last long. They were nice enough, but I wouldn’t necessarily plant them again.

pretty crocus

pretty crocus

The crocus really brighten up the faded fall leaves and maple keys that cover the garden bed after the snow melts.

Crocus vernus 'Silver Coral 'and other crocus

Crocus vernus ‘Silver Coral ‘and other crocus

I love the way that crocus enliven the garden so quickly as the last of the snow melts. Starting with the Crocus chrysanthus, and C. tommasinianus, through the C. vernus to the C. sieberi and C. x luteus, they provide so much colour in the early spring garden.

 

14 Responses to “Combinations of Crocus Flowers in the Garden” »

  1. Marit :
    May 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    You must have hundreds of crocus in your garden! It’s fantastic to see them all bloom at the same time. Have you ever counted them? :-)
    Your garden must be a wonderful sight in spring.

  2. Northern Shade :
    May 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Marit, I think there are around 1500 or so. They make up for the fact at there were no flowers in the garden for the last 6 months.

    So far all of my May articles have been about crocus. My next post will have to be about another flower before I have to change my blog name to Northern Crocus Gardening. :-)

  3. MG :
    May 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Great site and photos. Can you post some pictures that show more of the gardens as a whole?

  4. Rose :
    May 26, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Its magical to see the hundreds of beautiful crocus. The striped I also have in my garden but only a little handful which was greatly admired ;)

  5. M/S Design Mariana :
    May 26, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Vilka enorma mängder Crocus du har!!!! så vackert!
    Den där Crocus tommasinianus har jag aldrig sett förut! fin.
    Hälsningar
    Mariana

  6. Northern Shade :
    May 26, 2013 at 8:12 am

    MG, I’ll have to do some posts with longer shots of the garden. I tend to focus on plants I like, and combining them.

    Rose, mixing the striped crocus with the solids adds more texture to the plantings. After the monotony of winter, I appreciate a little more flare with the first flowers.

    Mariana, I like the tiny crocus with lots of companions so they show up well. The Crocus tommasinianus flowers looked good with Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’, but the C. tommasinianus flowers did not last long.

  7. jane :
    May 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    i came to your blog today and was enthralled to see so many crocus blooming .. you garden must be stunning with 1500 of the little guys .. then i was interested to see when the crocus were blooming in my garden .. they’ve mostly faded back to earth now having bloomed months ago .. it was february 20th when the tri-coloured crocus were blooming .. and early march when i saw the purple and yellow blooms of two different snow crocus .. it delights me to think how crocuses are continually blooming from february through the end of may .. ! .. depending on where we are on the planet ..

    it would be lovely to see at ‘long shot’ of some of those swirls and patches you’ve created ..

  8. Northern Shade :
    May 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Jane, about the earliest I’ve had the crocus bloom was the last day of March in an exceptionally warm spring. Usually they bloom in April into May, but this year, with our late winter, they were convinced that May was early spring. It would be awesome to have the first bulbs bloom in February, and have a longer gardening season.

  9. Ms S :
    May 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Definitely love the mass plantings. What a nice way to have a hit of colour well before spring. Love it!

  10. Northern Shade :
    May 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Ms S, last fall I added more crocus to connect two different crocus groups for a larger sweep, and I really enjoyed the effect this spring.

  11. Donna :
    July 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Your garden is to die for! I just found your blog this evening, looking for information on goats beard. I live and garden in Alberta Zone 3 as well (Grande Prairie). You’ve inspired me to try experimenting more with plants that could be borderline for surviving winter. I have been narrow-minded sticking with zone 3 plants. Also, I had no idea there were so many flowering options. At the garden centers, they always point me to hostas when I say I am looking for shade perennials. Well I have lots of hostas and they need some company of the non-hosta variety. Thanks for the great information, you’ve been bookmarked!

  12. Northern Shade :
    July 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Donna, there are lots of great shade plants to combine and show off your Hostas. There is even a dwarf goatsbeard, Aruncus aethusifolius, that has finely cut foliage and makes a nice texture contrast next to broad Hosta leaves. Athyrium (lady ferns) are another great contrast to the solid Hosta leaves. Some other of my favourites for shade are Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ with really superb silver and green leaves, Heuchera (coralbells) available in a huge variety of leaf colour patterns, Tiarella (foam flower) with beautiful flower spikes in spring, Asarum europaeum (European ginger) with shiny heart shaped leaves, and the tall Actaea (bugbane) with tall flower spikes in fall.

  13. Donna :
    August 5, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Thanks for the tips! I am going to look into all of your suggestions. May I ask, where do you order your bulbs from? I’ve got crocus on the brain currently ;)

  14. Northern Shade :
    August 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Donna, it’s a good time to start thinking of your bulbs, so you can make a list and order in the early fall, to get them planted as early as you can. I’ve been pleased with the bulbs that I’ve ordered from http://www.thimblefarms.com/bulb.html. However, I’ve actually picked up most of my bulbs locally in Edmonton, as there are a few garden shops that get an excellent assortment. I also bought some of the crocus at a garden shop in Calgary.

    I like to plant the bulbs in pockets between perennials, so they flower first, and then the perennials emerge and hide the bulbs leaves as they decay. Planting them under shrubs like Hydrangeas works well, too.

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