Thursday, October 11, 2012

Using Fall Blooming Crocus and Autumn Crocus

I think a gardener has to be clever to make effective use of fall blooming crocus and autumn crocus (Colchicum). They are hard to work into a planting scheme and to keep track of during the summer when they are dormant.  Below are some examples of their use:

Crocus ochroleucus on 10 October is growing in the shade of a large beech where little else competes with it. It leaves me a bit unsatisfied in this Kingwood Center location, because it emerges as a sort of curiosity with nothing else around.

I planted these Crocus kotschyanus in some rockery and quickly forgot about them. Fortunately they survived and were blooming on 4 October to my surprise and delight mixing in nicely with other plants in the garden.

Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale: Somebody on the Kingwood staff did a nice job of selecting this dark spot under a dawn redwood tree (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). With little competition they survive and brighten up the spot beautifully in the fall. This picture was taken on 28 September

Here is another good use for autumn crocus, coming up through a perennial; in this case it is a low growing Nepeta at Kingwood Center

Planting out in the lawn seems to be a very common use of autumn crocus. Here at Kingwood Center we mix them with daffodils. We get a few negative comments about the long grass that we have to tolerate in the spring until the leaves of the autumn crocus and the daffodils die down, and the turf takes a while to recover after being neglected, but the surprise of the autumn crocus in the lawn in the fall is very pleasant.