Northern Shade Gardening

First Crocus Buds

Sunday, April 20, 2014 Category: Bulbs


crocus leaf spears in snow

crocus leaf spears in snow

Despite the last 4 days of snow, the first crocus bud is up in the lawn. Those pointed leaves are spearing through last year’s fallen leaves, right in the middle of the snow melt. I adore these hardy bulbs that bring the first colour of spring. Their endearing habit of coming into bud just a few days after popping up is perfect for a gardener who’s grown impatient after 6 months of winter. This patch of lawn gets very shady when the trees leaf out, but the speedy crocus can take advantage of the early spring sunshine that filters through the bare tree branches.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus' coming up through old leaf

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ coming up through old leaf

Crocus don’t wait until you’ve done your garden cleanup to start flowering. This first intrepid bud is Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus ‘ (snow crocus). The petals are white and purple, and as you can see its an early riser. The fresh green leaves, each with a silver stripe, are almost as welcome as the buds, after a winter of monotony in the garden. Snow on evergreen branches is a pretty sight, but after 6 months I’m ready for something flashier. Soon this patch will be joined by the other purple, white and yellow crocus.  Most of them are the smaller C. chrysanthus, but each small plant can produce many flowers. When they all open, the petal edges almost touch from flower to flower. With all of the leaves now, it won’t be long until the lawn is covered in blooms. I planted mostly the earliest flowering types of crocus here, so the leaves die back fairly quickly, and I can mow the lawn by the end of May, after they’ve gathered all of the energy they can. The garden has a mixture of early and late flowering crocus, to give a longer season of bloom.

first crocus bud on lawn

first crocus bud on lawn

Even ice crystals clinging to the bud’s petals don’t bother a snow crocus. This is the perfect plant for early spring in Edmonton. When the snow or clouds come, the petals simply fold up and wait patiently for the sun’s warmth, when they’ll unfurl and make a tapestry of spring colours . They are particularly showy when most of the garden is still a series of monochrome earth tones. A vibrant field of yellow and purple is a great start to the gardening year, especially after the dreariness of a long Edmonton winter. Happy gardening season.

25 Responses to “First Crocus Buds” »

  1. Marit :
    April 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Hello again! You are a spring sign good as any :-)
    Last autumn I planted ‘Prince Claus’ after your nice pictures. It is sure a lovely crocus. Here we had a very strange and mild winter. Lots of rain and a very early spring. Today the tempeature have been 20 degres celcius!
    I hope you will blog more in the future! :-)

  2. Northern Shade :
    April 21, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Marit, the ‘Prins Claus’ seem to be very hardy, and there are many of them up. Once they are all open, I’ll be able to tell if they are starting to spread. Today some of the yellow C. ‘romance’ have opened next to them and they make a nice combination.

  3. Köögikata :
    April 22, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Good to see your garden is awakening too finally!
    Here was just 1 month only of real winter with cold and some snow. In February it seemed spring really begin already, but it have been very slow awakening so now really spring is like it normally should be, nothing too early. But thanks to this slow awakening we have been enjoying some springflowers really long, crocuses for example about 1,5 month and still blooming. Lovely spring!

  4. Northern Shade :
    April 22, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Köögikata, wow, 1.5 months of crocuses would be fantastic. What a lovely start to your gardening year with such a long and mild spring.

  5. Becky :
    April 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Your photographs are beautiful. I am still enjoying crocuses here and a few of my Dutch iris too. New green shoots arrive here every day now. It’s a great time in the garden! It’s nice to have you back too!

  6. Northern Shade :
    April 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Becky, isn’t it exciting to go out each morning and see all of the new growth? The earliest bulbs start flowering so quickly, that it’s like instant gratification. The Galanthus have popped open now, and I keep touring all of the bulb areas to see the progression.

  7. Ray@A Leafy Indulgence :
    April 22, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    No crocus for me this year, so I enjoyed yours. The only ones I had ended up being under the new deck I ‘planted’ so they no longer got sun and stopped blooming. I moved them this spring.

  8. Northern Shade :
    April 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Ray, at least your gardening year starts early, and you have other blooms to enjoy.

  9. Shady Gardener :
    April 23, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Northern!!

    I was so happy to see your post here. Your crocus look great! I have been “in absentia” for quite awhile lately, but have missed blogging. Happy Spring!!

  10. Northern Shade :
    April 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Shady Gardener, hello to my shady sister. I was thrilled to see the first buds in the garden. Now there are more and more popping up, and things seem to be on a roll.

  11. Rose :
    April 25, 2014 at 6:39 am

    So happy for you that these first beauties of spring have opened up! It’s been a long winter for everyone, I think, but we’re finally into spring down here in the Midwest. Every little new bloom is treasured after the long months of gray and white.

  12. Northern Shade :
    April 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Rose, there are so many more crocus leaves rising up in the lawn and garden now, that I can’t wait until they all open.

  13. Dave :
    April 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Hi ,came here to find when I could expect the crocus bulbs I planted last fall to start to show signs of blooming but reading the posts here it seems they should be up by now . No sign of any leaves yet

  14. Northern Shade :
    April 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Dave, they are sometimes a little slower in their first year. Are they planted in a sunny area? My earliest crocus, like C. chrysanthus (snow crocus) usually started rising at the edge of the melting snow line. The larger Crocus vernus (large Dutch crocus) come a few weeks later.

  15. Anna :
    April 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Yeeeeay! I can hear you shouting with joy. Whilst we experienced the wettest of winters this side of the pond it’s been a long cold one for you. Glad to hear that you have flowers once more.

  16. Northern Shade :
    April 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Anna, I’ve planted so many crocus, because they start the gardening year with a bang. I manged to do some garden cleanup this weekend, and discovered lots more crocus spears as I was removing the old leaves.

  17. M/S Design Mariana :
    May 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    How nice to have you back!
    Nicely when they look up from the snow.
    best regards

  18. Barbarapc :
    May 6, 2014 at 7:22 am

    At last! So glad to see that spring has started to show its face in your part of Canada. If there were ribbons for getting through this one – we’d all have one. How lovely to see your tiny treasures blooming.

  19. Northern Shade :
    May 7, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Barbarapc, things are looking more spring-like here, well except for yesterday when I woke up to see more snow on the crocus, but otherwise the garden is getting more colourful.

  20. Diane :
    May 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Love to see those crocuses blooming, despite the snow!

  21. Northern Shade :
    May 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Diane, I’ll have to post more photos now that most of the smaller crocus are open.

  22. Waltraud :
    May 10, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Nice to hear from you Nothern Shade,

    isht yes really cold out with you.

    I wish you beautiful day in May …

    sending you greetings across the sea

    hugs Waltraud

  23. Northern Shade :
    May 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Waltraud, we are having such a slow start to spring, we don’t have any green leaves even starting on the trees yet. I am thankful for the bulbs, and the perennials with evergreen leaves, like the Helleborus, Tiarella and Heuchera to provide some colour in the garden.

  24. Grace Peterson :
    May 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Well darn that snow, anyway. I must say your photos are lovely which just proves your talent for making things beautiful. I am so glad it’s finally spring but it seems like it’s moving along way too fast. I’d like to bottle it and savor it. If only I knew how. :) Cheers.

  25. Northern Shade :
    May 13, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Grace, happy spring. Although the trees don’t look like spring yet, the bulbs are providing some cheer.

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