I am always looking for ways to extend the bloom season later into the fall and earlier into the spring. I had planted some Crocus speciosus at my old garden intermingled with some colchicum, thinking they would bloom together. Wrong! The crocus bloomed later. I took advantage of that fact here at the new house, and planted these crocus generously in front of a floor to ceiling window, where they can be appreciated from the comfort of a woodstove-heated room.I purchased 50 C. speciosus ‘Conqueror’ and 50 C. speciosus ‘Oxonian’ from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. The corms arrived the first week of September and the instructions said to plant immediately. Since I knew they wouldn’t bloom until very late October or even November, I confess I did not make them my top priority and they didn’t get planted until the end of September. (I was busy planting colchicums that were blooming in the bag before that!)
Plant Immediately Upon Receipt
However, I had also bought 10 C. cartwrightianus ‘Albus’ and 10 C. ochroleucus and planted them on the same day as the speciosus. I am thinking now it was a mistake to wait to plant these. I did not realize that some consider C. cartwrightianus to be a form of C. sativus, the saffron crocus. I am not even sure C. sativus is hardy here, and as Frances of Fairegarden points out, it has a much different growth pattern. The leaves of C. sativus (and by extension, I am guessing, C. cartwrightianus ‘Albus’) emerge at the same time as the flowers. They bloom earlier in the season, early October in her warmer climate, as well. Here, there is just an empty area where I planted them. So, I may have inadvertently killed these two crocus species by not planting them sooner. Learn from my mistake!
Can’t Tell Them Apart
While I am enjoying the C. speciosus blooms, I have to confess I can’t tell them apart.They are labeled, but I can’t remember which picture I took first! They look more different in these two photos than they do to my eye. The patch of ‘Conqueror’ seems to be emerging a tad bit later than the patch of ‘Oxonian,’ and ‘Conqueror’ seems darker in bud. But when fully opened in the sunshine I can’t tell them apart, and neither can my family. I have no problem with that. If I were ordering them again, though, I wouldn’t get named varieties if the plain species were less expensive. But these are absolutely the only thing blooming outdoors for me in mid-November. We’ve had frosts and hard freezes and on Tuesday we woke to about two inches of snow, which has since melted. If you are interested in extending your season of bloom, I heartily recommend these fall-blooming corms.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.