Crocus – gladness & cheer!

Featured in Greek mythology and popularised in England by Elizabethan gardeners, the crocus has a long history. Gerard said of the yellow crocus – “it hath flowers of a most perfect shining yellow colour like a hot glowing coal of fire”. In the language of flowers ‘crocus’ signifies gladness and cheerfulness – which is no surprise at all if we imagine the sight of swathes of crocus in bloom as they herald the spring.

Drifts of crocus at ‘The Backs’ in Cambridge.

Every garden has room for crocuses. They may be small but they have a BIG impact in the garden – grown in small bunches to brighten bare borders in late winter/early spring or naturalised as flowery carpets in the lawn (avoid mowing until the leaves have died back). In pots and containers they add a welcome splash of colour combined with other plants or alone. Easy to grow in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.

Brightening garden borders in late winter and spring.

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Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ – (white flowers with dark purple marks on the outer petals).

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’.

Crocus sieberi subsp. sublimis ‘Tricolor’ – (‘three-coloured Sieber’s crocus’ or ‘cretan crocus’ – STUNNING mauve, white and yellow fragrant flowers in late winter).

Crocus sieberi subsp. sublimis ‘Tricolor’.

Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch’ – (the ‘Ankara Crocus’ – starts flowering in late winter, golden yellow).

Crocus ‘Jeanne D’Arc’ – (large white flowers).

Crocus ‘Golden Yellow’ – (bright orange-yellow flowers, strong grower).

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