What’s missing from this picture are the autumn crocuses. They should be blooming now. No, I don’t mean colchicums–they’re done. (And they’re not crocuses!!) I mean bona-fide crocuses that bloom in the fall. Crocus speciosus, to be precise. I planted more than one hundred of them four years ago, and for the last three years they have bloomed faithfully and generously, saving me from a flower-less November.But not this year.What happened to them? I searched for rodent holes, tunnels, activity of any kind. I didn’t see any. I had taken precautions when I planted them. Surrounding tasty rodent treats with grit had so far kept them from being devoured. But had this method finally failed me?
I consult the experts
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that there’s a Facebook group devoted to Crocus and Colchicum. I asked the many knowledgeable members what could have happened to my crocuses. One member suggested that it was too dry for them to form flowers. We didn’t have the extremely dry conditions that caused parts of my state to be declared in drought this summer, but we had an almost snowless winter, and it was dry enough to make this gardener worry about her garden. It hadn’t occurred to me that this could have an impact on the crocuses. I had thought most crocuses actually liked it rather dry, but I suppose in their native clime there is a wet season when they form their flowers.If leaves emerge next spring, then all is not lost. I can hope for flowers again next fall. But, if I see no leaves next spring, I will have to be more assertive in my detective work. I really didn’t want to disturb the hellebore roots going into winter, especially since they are finally starting to look substantial. I think they will tolerate a bit more root disturbance in the spring, after they bloom. That’s my current theory, at least.
Blooming or faking it
From a distance, it may look like I still have flowers blooming. A closer inspection reveals that the last of them just freeze-dried on the plant. Roses, especially, are good at that.Did you like those frost-coated photos? I took even better ones last year. Click to see them.
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. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.