End of Crocus season

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:52:11 PST
It's not over here, either.

Yesterday morning I worked in the garden in shorts and a tee shirt planting
lilies; by noon it began to cool off and rain. The rain picked up for awhile
and continued into the evening. I worked out in the rain after adding
sweatpants and a hooded shirt. After it got so dark that I could hardly see
what I was doing, I quit for the day and marched straight to the washing
machine, peeled off the muddy clothes and put them in the washer, then went
upstairs to get myself cleaned up (and warm!). 

A weather front was passing through, and today it's much colder although
still above freezing. I still have things to plant; this is the major
gardening season for me. Tender annuals are still presentable in the garden:
that should change tonight! 

Crocus still in bloom include C. goulimyi in several forms, C. boryi, C.
niveus, C. serotinus forms, C. longiflorus, C. thomasii, C. speciosus; C.
ochroleucus will probably be in bloom within a few days, and if C.
hadriaticus is up I have not noticed it.  Some late-planted corms of species
which ordinarily bloom earlier are also still on the way. Some Viola odorata
are blooming near some of the crocus, and that makes the search for crocus
blooms and buds that much more agreeable. 

Depending on the weather, C. laevigatus will be blooming during the
transition from the old year to the new. Right now it has only the tips of
its leaves up.  C. imperati typically manages to bloom sometime in January
if the weather gives it a chance. Soon after that, C. korolkowii in several
forms blooms, well before the rush of the main vernal (strictly speaking,
late-winter) crocus season. 

In most years, we don't have a seamless crocus season from September to
March, but in many years we come close. There is almost always a gap in
January, and there will be gaps when harsh weather causes mechanical damage
to crocus already on bloom. 

Count me among those for whom crocus have a real hold on my gardening
sensibilities. If they bloomed in July, who would bother? But they almost
have the season to themselves now, and they provide color and fragrance in
the face of winter and will continue to do so fitfully right through the bad
weather to come. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where fall blooming camellias
are having a great year.  

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