fall crocus

Antennaria@aol.com Antennaria@aol.com
Mon, 16 Aug 2004 19:39:43 PDT
Sorry folks for joining in on the discussion rather late.  I can second John 
Lonsdale's comments on the suitability of fall crocus.  John is about 350 
miles south of me, with the advantage of approximately 1-1/2 USDA weather zones 
milder than my northern Massachusetts location (within 2 miles of the New 
Hampshire border).  Even so, I am delighted and inspired by the good results trying 
fall crocus for these last 4 years.  

In the past few years I have had reliable yearly bloom on C. niveus, 
speciosus forms, goulimyi, serotinus forms, pallasii, and a few others.  My favorite 
by far is C. tournefortii.  For photos galleries of C. tournefortii and 
goulimyi, check out the following link on my web page:
...or go to http://www.plantbuzz.com/
   and click on the What's the Buzz > "Favorite Plants of 2003" link.

If winter-like weather comes on too early, and we don't get the blessing of 
our so-called "indian summer" (late autumn mild temperatures), then the autumn 
crocus can take a beating.  But that's ok, because the bulbs have a strong 
capacity to produce a succession of flowers... the glorious C. niveus 
particularly strong in this department, and invariably some flowers will appear to grace 
the day, even in the worst of years.

The latest blooming species for me is C. pallasii ssp. pallasii.  It's one of 
the few crocus that keeps it's flowers open, even on dim cloudy days.  The 
flowers are deliciously fragrant.  There is a photo of C. pallasii accessible 
from the link shown above, as part of the photo gallery for Crocus tournefortii.

By the way, the last two winters experienced some record breaking cold, after 
nearly a decade of relatively moderate (for this area) winters. 

As for why some of these crocus appear hardy in a very cold place, compared 
to a milder climate like Oregon, I don't really have an answer for Jane 
McGary... except to say, that when I lived in the Seattle Washington area, I lost a 
good number of plants that were rock solid hardy in New England, but died in 
winter in the much milder Pacific Northwest.  I might have to do with hardening 
off, or with bulbs, getting that deep drying and warmth in summer, or here in 
northern New England once frozen in winter, the ground typically staying 
frozen until we reach the most risky time of year... late winter and early spring 
when alternate freezing and thawing becomes the greatest risk.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States 
antennaria@aol.com "New England" USDA Zone 5
>> web site under construction - http://www.plantbuzz.com/ <<
alliums, bulbs, penstemons, hardy hibiscus, western 
american alpines, iris, plants of all types!

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