Crocus for Georgia (USA) , was In bloom now... and more on winter gardening

Burger, Steve
Tue, 13 Dec 2005 06:29:37 PST
I think that you're accurate about the distribution of soils in Ga.  Clay can crop out anywhere as I have seen during my trips to the coast, but is most common in the Piedmont, although even there it was actually just the sub-soil prior to the intensive agriculture in the region that caused the loss of the top soil in the piedmont.  

Most of the commercially available crocuses (I mean from garden centers and the like) do fine here, as have many of the late winter/spring blooming types of rarer ones. I haven't been growing the rarer, "off season" species types long enough or in quantities adequate to make meaningful assessments.  

The biggest issue with hybrid (or any) crocus here is wildlife.  Georgia seems to be loaded with gray squirrels, chipmunks (ground squirrels) and voles (field mice).  I try to grow my crocuses in places less friendly to them, where there is little cover, and thus far that has worked reasonably well.

Apparently, Elizabeth Lawrence grew Crocus laevigatus in North Carolina (in an area very much like mine climatically), but I don't have her publications so I don't know what she did with them to achieve her results,, but I know C. laevigatus was among her plants as were other Mediterranean crocus.

My goal is pretty straight forward.  I am looking for a complete sequence of bloom, and I am shooting for the conspicuous, not the subtle.  Crocus is hardly subtle. I have also acquired Iris lazica and Iris unguicularis for this purpose too.  I plan to get hellebores and I have early daffodils.  I have several woody plants that also bloom in winter.

Due to our harsher climate than the west coast, the only reasonably common plants that bloom conspicuously between mid December and late January would be Helleborus and Daphne odora.  Frankly, although I love them, helleborus doesn't really fit the bill (for what I'm looking for) due to its somewhat hidden and muted colored flowers.

I can get camellias that bloom during this time, but we often dip into the teens (and almost nightly below freezing, if only by a little) during this period, which brings on the camellia moosh, and lots of blackened flowers to remove.  So I go for later and earlier blooming ones.  I have found one with hardy flowers (yes flowers not buds), but it blooms at the earliest in late January.

So long story short, I have February through November wrapped up reasonably well in the garden.  I have here and there color in the other two months, but I'm looking for as many plants that will cover those months, without much climate or soil modification, that I can get.


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Eugene Zielinski
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Crocus for Georgia (USA) , was In bloom now

I've not seen any crocuses here in Augusta.  From what I've read, the
crocus that does best in the south is the spring flowering C.
tommasinianus.  Scott Ogden lists a few other species in his book, Garden
Bulbs for the South.
I did see a nice substitute for crocuses in a lawn in North Augusta (which
is across the Savannah River in South Carolina.) -- Ipheion uniflorum, in
colors ranging from white to blue.
Even though I haven't lived in Georgia that long, I'd like to comment on
Georgia soils.  There is a geological feature called the Fall Line that
runs from Augusta to Columbus.  Immediately north of this line is the
Piedmont, and the soils there are primarily that famous red clay.  South of
the fall line, however, is the coastal plain, and the soil there is quite
sandy.  So, not all Georgia soil is clay.  In fact, if my map is correct,
less than 50% of Georgia has clay soil.  (This is somewhat moot to me,
since my garden consists of a number of pots, many with acquisitions from

Eugene Zielinski
Augusta, GA - of course

> Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 11:29:15 -0500
> From: "Jim McKenney" <>
> Subject: Re: [pbs] Crocus for Georgia (USA) , was In bloom now
> To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" <>
> Steve Burger and I are at opposite ends of what can be seen as essentially
> the same growing zone. He's at the far southern end where summers are
> and bitter cold in the winter is briefer, but otherwise I'll bet our
> conditions have a lot in common. Undisturbed, un-amended soils here are
> often red clay, and during the summer they eat bulbs voraciously. It's
> noting that there are very few true bulbs in the native flora. 

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