TOW Crocus Species

anthony goode
Tue, 04 Feb 2003 13:40:49 PST
Diane is correct to point out that the Crocus Group seed exchange
cannot at present deal with US members.  Hopefully there will be some
movement by the authorities to allow us to trade again.  I usually
send some seed to the NARGS seedex and will continue to do so.

Jim S "wants crocuses that bloom and grow like weeds!"  - Hmm ...
Could you ask me another question?! :)  I guess the first answer is to
buy lots of the cheap ones, at least your expenses will be low and
they are cheap because they increase quickly for someone else!  The
clumping of that one small corm of C tommasinianus is encouraging -
deffinately worth trying more of those.  Several cheap cultivars are
forms or hybrids of this species.  Whitwell Purple is one that comes
to mind.  The dutch hybrid crocus should be possible (?) but are
perahps too gaudy?

Crocus kotschyanus is often cheaply available in the UK from Dutch
stocks.  This is known by the cognescenti as the "Non-flowering clone"
It carries a virus and although growing quite vigorously from large
rather irregularly shaped corms it never produces a flower.  Perhaps
this is what you have Jim?  I have seen it in prolific self seeding
good form in a local garden but that was before the local squirrels
discovered a new delicacy.

The large Dutch group referred to are all selected forms or hybrids of
Crocus vernus with the exception of  'Yellow Mammoth' which has its
origins as an ancient selection of Crocus flavus.  Crocus flavus, not
mentioned before in our discussion, is recorded as seeding around to
form extensive colonies in a few UK gardens.

Interested in the mixed Crocus and Daffodil planting mentioned by
Jim W.  Here in the UK we suffer from Carrot fly and as an alternative
to chemical treatments amateur vegetable growers plant interplant with
onions which are supposed to confuse the pest!

The problem of rodents is probably best overcome by putting the corms
out of their reach.  One possible option for the rarer species which
are unlikely to be grown in large numbers is  to grow them in a trough
with a sheet of fine grade wire mesh set just under the soil surface.
The same mesh can be used to prevent predators form entering through
the drainage holes too.  The siting of troughs is important as they
will warm up much more than the open garden.  This is especially
relevant as the summer heat will come when the crocus are not above
ground to remind you of their presence.  The same mechanical barrier
approach can be used on a larger scale in raised beds.  In this case
the bed has a layer of mesh below the corms as well as above.  There
is a picture of such a bed during construction on p8 of Bulbs by Rix
and Phillips (see earlier posting for the ISBN) although I would
question whether the mesh used there is fine enough.

Such a lot of trouble for a fleeting, frail flowered thing but I guess
it is the intense ephemeral beauty of these little wonders of the
natural world that draws us.


Tony Goode.  Norwich UK  Mintemp -8C

More information about the pbs mailing list