Growing Crocuses

Try To Get A Natural Effect

We have a few days off for Thanksgiving and have spent most of our time grinding up leaves for mulch, fixing the deer fence to make sure there is no breach and planting crocuses and tulips.  Autumn is the time to put in spring crocus bulbs.  We put a couple of hundred bulbs in a year ago and love the way our lawn looks in spring.  This autumn we put 400 more bulbs in. I don’t really like growing anything ‘bulb’ because most of the time they become squirrel and chipmunk food.  However, taking our honeybees into consideration, I want to provide natural, early spring food for them.  Crocus is one of the flowers that bloom very early and have plenty of pollen and nectar.   They are also quite pretty and come in variety of colors.  They will disappear underground by the time other flowers start to bloom.

Crocuses blooming on the lawn in early April.  Since we mixed the bulbs, the colors are random.

I run out of space to put a lot of bulbs in so our lawn is the only place.  In order to make them look natural, I bought mostly mixed color bulbs.  I also bought individual colors of the larger variety and mixed them with the smaller ones.  Cast them on the lawn then planted them wherever they landed.  Last spring they came up before the lawn grew, creating a lovely natural effect.  Multi colors of crocus bloomed randomly in early April.  Unfortunately we lost all our hives last winter so the native bees had a great time.

Here’s a selection of spring crocus..

Deep yellow with maroon veins underneath
Lovely white
Dark purple
Yellow with a white edge
Lavender with a touch of white

I’m missing a couple of colors, either the bulbs rotted or they became our furry friends food.  We can hardly wait to see what our lawn will look like next spring.

 

 

 

Earth Day

With Respect and Gratitude 

The Earth gives us sanctuary and sustains us in all things.  Aside from being a provider, she is also a designer, inventor and teacher among many other things. She is kind but can never be tamed.  That last is quite likely what saves us all from ourselves in the end.

Here’s some of the great beauty she gives us….

Crocus, after hiding below the surface of the earth for most of the year, tells me that spring is finally here
Primrose
Hellebore
Sand cherry blooms much earlier than other cherries in our garden, with a lovely honey fragrance
Columbine catching a rain drop

Thank you, Mother Earth

With Respect and gratitude

Spring Is Coming

And It Will Not Be a Good One

We came back from our vacation to a sharp drop in temperature.  Our friends told us that while we were gone the temperature had gone up to the 60°F for a couple of days and mostly hovered above 50°F for the rest of that period.  I can see the result of warm temperatures in our garden.  Roses, hydrangeas, tree peonies started to bud.  The silver maple in the front yard has blossomed.  The crocuses and snowdrops are blooming.

Many of over 200 crocuses we put randomly in the lawn last autumn have blossomed.
Many of the over 200 crocuses we put randomly in the lawn last autumn have blossomed.
Flowers open up with out bees to pollinate since the temperature was a little bit too cold for them to come out
We put crocus in as early food for bees but this spring the flowers opened up without the bees to pollinate since the temperature was a little bit too cold for them to come out

Then two days after we came back, the temperature dropped again, combined with a high wind that resulted in a wind chill below 0°F.  Last night the temperature was in a teens and today it is barely above freezing.  It’s de ja vu of last spring.  Plants started budding only to get frost burn.  We didn’t have any hydrangeas last year for this reason and the first round of roses looked awful.

Plenty of Snowdrops pushed themselves through mulch leaves
Plenty of Snowdrops pushed themselves through mulch leaves
Two bulbs of rescued tulip have become a healthy clump
Two bulbs of rescued tulip have become a healthy clump
Young leaves of Anise Hyssop stay close to the ground. Hopefully they won't get frost burn.
Young leaves of Anise Hyssop stay close to the ground. Hopefully they won’t get frost burn.

I don’t even know how the honeybees are.  They’ve been so quiet, no sign of dead bees in front of the hives.  We weren’t here when the temperature soared up to see if they were out cleansing.   They’ve been too quiet for my liking and I have no way of checking on them.  It’s either too cold or too windy to open the hives up for inspection.  To be on the safe side, I have ordered one more package of bees to be delivered in May.

Beehives, all wrapped up, amid snow when we left for vacation. Due to lack of storage, we left empty supers out in the garden, unwrapped.
Beehives, all wrapped up, amid snow when we left for vacation. Due to lack of storage, we left empty supers out in the garden, unwrapped.

Though it will not be a promising spring, I still look forward to it.  It’s time for me to start tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings and prep tropical plants in the basement for a warm and less seesaw temperature outside.  In a little bit over a month the seedlings should be able to set their roots in the garden and tropical plants will enjoy real sunlight.  And, hopefully, the hives will have survived another winter.

The First Day Of Spring

And The Flowers Agree

Today is the official first day of spring and feels like it too.  Spring flowers bloom, birds start clearing their territory and look for nesting spots.  Not much to describe; just happy that spring is finally here.

Crocus
Crocus
Helleborus came up earlier and got freeze burn
Helleborus came up earlier and got freeze burn
Helleborus /burgundy
Helleborus /burgundy
I have to lift the flower up to see the complexity of this one
I have to lift the flower up to see the complexity of this one
Rescued tulips also came up.
Rescued tulips also came up.

Late Autumn

Back to Blogging

It has been five months since I posted last.  Aside from busy with work and garden, my doctor advised me to spend less time in front of the computer.  Bursitis and pinched nerve have been giving me aches and pain in my shoulders and arms.  So after a long day of sitting in front of a computer at work, sitting in front of one at home is not recommended.  Surprisingly enough, doing garden chores helps to ease the discomfort and after some routine exercise I’m back.

Autumn is almost gone and we are ready for winter.  All the tropical plants are down in their basement winter camp and the beehives are wrapped up to keep the girls snug.  All the leaves are gone but there are some flowers left in our garden and the Saffron is one of them. We are growing Saffron (Crocus sativus) for the first time and they are blooming.

Sprouting up after a few weeks in the ground
Sprouting up after a few weeks in the ground
Unfurling flower
Unfurling flower
Blooming one after another
Blooming one after another

I’ve been collecting their threads (stigmas) almost daily and dry them on a paper towel for a couple of days before preserving them in the vial.  They have such a subtle scent.

Full bloom with three bright orange stigmas
Full bloom with three bright orange stigmas
Close up
Close up

I’m not sure I can leave them outside during winter.  Winter here can be brutally cold (down to -4F last winter).  They’re in pots now and I plan to put them in the garage once the temperature drops below the freezing point.  Hopefully they’ll grow back and bloom next autumn so I don’t have to pay a hefty amount for just a few threads.

Drying threads on paper towel
Drying threads on paper towel

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