Crocus tommasianus

Jim McKenney
Wed, 04 May 2011 08:37:08 PDT
"Lawn tommies" are a feature of old gardens here in the greater Washington, D.C. area. They are typical amethyst and pewter tommies, and seed around freely. They are sometimes seen as patches a few square yards in area. They're the best!

The cultivars such as 'Taplow Ruby', 'Barr's Purple' and others strike me a being tommasinianus-vernus hybrids and behave very differently as garden plants for me. They also seem to seed, but only very sparingly. These clones persist indefinitely here: I've got some patches which are probably forty years old!

Boyce's comments about mulching intrigue me; my plants of typical tommies are not mulched (because they grow in lawn), so I don't have any empirical observations to report. But I do know that the seed capsules of Crocus tommasinianus project up above the lawn by several inches - at first glance they suggest some strange fugal fruiting body. That makes them easy to see and collect for scattering in other parts of the garden. Eranthis hyemalis has already scattered its seed here, so the tommies can't be too far off.

That the mulching of freshly ripened seed of a species which is tolerant of moist summer conditions gives good results does not surprise me. But has any one tried it with a species which requires dry summer conditions?

Jim McKenney

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