Crocuses signal signs of spring

Though not a total surprise due to the unseasonably warm weather we have been having lately, in addition to their tendency to flower during the bleakness of winter, it is always such a delight to see spring crocuses come to bloom. In fact, this year I can also see perky yellow daffodils in the yard across from us which indeed is a treat for the eyes and a cure for winter blues.

Traditionally, crocuses are thought of as, along with some other flowering bulbs such as Galanthus nivalis (snowdrops) and Iris reticulata (dwarf beardless iris), and of course the robins, the harbingers of spring, giving us a sigh of relief and anticipation that winter will soon be over. Furthermore, crocuses are carefree, easy to grow, providing us much more than they ask for. I have, to my amusement, found blooming clumps of crocuses in all sorts of unlikely places in the garden where some bulbs probably hitchhiked with soil, discarded weeds, mulch or something like that. Because of their small size, crocuses look lovely in rock gardens and amid ground covers; and, once established, they multiply quickly and can easily be naturalized.

Grown from corms in fall, most crocuses have grass-like foliage which, depending upon the weather, can make appearance above the ground as early as January. The flowers are borne on short stalks, thus seem to be rising directly from the soil; in our garden, the golden-yellow ones usually bloom first followed by the purple colored ones; though not particularly picky, crocuses do prefer well-drained soil and look attractive when grown in masses.

A big return on a small investment, that’s the potential of bulbs. Soon it will be time to make that investment towards summer-flowering bulbs.  With ample selection available at garden centers or through mail-order catalogs, a gardener should have no problem selecting what the heart desires. The problem, on the contrary, might be what not to get!

Gita’s Tip of the Month
Use care while clearing debris or removing weeds around dormant perennials as young growth might already be trying to poke through the soil. It is quite upsetting when the gardener realizes that the tool being used has hit or injured the live part of a plant. | 751-0421


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