AUTUMN-FLOWERING CROCUS SPECIES
asturicus atropurpureus. A lovely variety from the Pyrenees producing its dark purple blooms late in November and until Christmas. A most reliable variety for a town garden and window-box culture.
C. Boryi. Flowering in November and producing daintyof purest white, this variety is most attractite when planted with C. Asturicus.
C. cancellatus albus. This species is perhaps the loveliest of all the autumn-flowering crocus producing its silvery grey flowers in late September before itsappear. Its vivid orange anthers make it outstanding in the autumn sun.
C. cancellatus Alicicus. An attractive pale lavender-blue form of the species. Should be planted with albus.
C. Hadriaticus. A beautiful white-flowering species, at its glorious best in late October.
C. iridiflorus. The true iris-flowered crocus, which produces its huge lavender-blue flowers in early November. It blooms to perfection in cold greenhouses or in the home.
C. Kashmiriana. A rare variety which may be found at high altitudes in Kashmir. It produces its rich pale blue flowers in October.
C. laevigatus. A most valuable variety from the Caspian Sea area, producing its star-like flowers of rich violet during the bleakest days of January.
C. longiflorus. A sweetly scented gem from Malta, bearing its violet blooms during early November. Does well in window-box or town garden.
C. media. Those who know the southern coast of France will know” this lovely palespecies which is made more striking by its brilliant orange red stigmas. It flowers to perfection early in December.
C. nudiflorsis. Producing its lilac flowers before its leaves in early October, this is a wonderful crocus for naturalizing. It will form a dense carpet in a few years.
C. ochroleucus. At its best in early winter, this species with its tiny creamy white flowers and pure white stigmas should be grown amongst the darker-flowered species.
C. Salzmannia. Those who require a brilliant window-boxor splash of colour in a favourite corner of the rockery where it will obtain its full quota of October sunshine, should plant this native of Morocco, with its lovely deep lilac cup-shaped blooms.
C. sativus. The original, noted for the dense yellow deposit on the stigmas of which the Elizabethan writer Gerard said: ‘Moderate use of it is good for the head . . . it shaketh off drowsie sleep and maketh a man merrie.’ It would also be grown entirely for its lovely purple-pink flower, which is streaked a deeper purple and which remains in bloom for a long period.
C. Scharojani. This rare yellow species, flowering in all its glory in mid-August is a native of the far Black Sea area and may be difficult to obtain now.
C. speciosus. Obtainable in a whole range of colours, blue, mauve, deep purple and at their best in late autumn, this is a wonderful crocus for naturalizing and may be very cheaply obtained. Of all the varieties this flowers to perfection in the poor soil of a town shrubbery where it may receive very little moisture and where it should be planted in drifts along with C. nudiflorus.
C. Tourneforti. A rare but exquisite crocus, having deep purple blooms and a rich orange throat and at its best during the dark November days.
SOME OUTSTANDING SPRING FLOWERING SPECIES
It is said that to-day there are nearly a hundred different crocus species, of which almost three-quarters are spring flowering. So it is not possible to give a detailed account of them all, but here are some of the most outstanding species and varieties which will link up with the January-flowering C. laevigatus and give a brilliant show right until May.
C. ancyrensis. Linking up C. laevigatus by producing its brilliant yellow blooms early in February, this is a species not nearly so well known. The corms are cheap, costing no more than the familiar later-flowering Dutch hybrids. While they are most useful for planting in grass, on the rockery and for window-boxes, they are admirable for pot work. Pots of this variety would meet with a ready sale if sold in florists’ shops during the dull January days. They need no artificial heat – but should have the shelter of a closed frame to bring them into bloom in January.
C. aureus. A dwarf variety and ideal for a rockery. The brilliant golden yellow blooms rarely open more than 2 in. high. At their best early in March. Rapidly reproduces itself from.
C. Balansae. This is one of the most dwarf of all crocus, but its orange flowers are none the less delightful for they are carried in dusters above the foliage during March. They enjoy a little shelter and a south aspect.
C. biflorus. From Greece and bearing attractive silvery white flowers, striped with blue. Very free flowering, ideal under trees and at its best in March. There are several forms of this species of which C. biflorus Weldeni, a pale grey – and pusillus, white with an orange throat, from Yugoslavia, are outstanding and equally free flowering.
C. candidus. Comes into bloom in February and is one of the largest of all species when in bloom. The flower is a unique dark orange colour shaded mahogany. From the Levant.
C. chrysanthus. E. A. Bowles. Named after the greatest expert on the crocus, the chrysanthus group comes into bloom late in January and will still be colourful well into March. This variety produces pale yellow flowers of immense size, and as it should be, is one of the very finest crocus in cultivation. Another form is Warley White, having an attractive yellow throat, and one to receive an Award of Merit is ZwanenbergBrone, which bears a striking golden yellow bloom, the outside of which is like polished bronze.
C. etruscus. From Italy and at its best in April, is one of my favourite species for it bears a large flower of the most intense violet-blue. Delightful planted along the edge of a path withJuliae alba.
C. Fleischeri. This variety should be planted on a grassy bank where the vivid red anthers appearing from the white star-like flowers can be seen to advantage. Or plant in clusters with Primula Wanda or Marie Crousse along the edge of a path or border. Flowers late March to early May.
C. Imperati. Should be planted with A. ancyrensis for its violet star-like blooms flower during January, and in awhere the winter sun peeps through.
C. Sieberi. Similar to Fleischeri but at its best throughout February where its rich lavender-blue blooms and delicate golden throat make this a delightful crocus for the coldwhen grown in pans, or for the window-box.
C. Susianus minor. From the Crimea and what a magnificent show this makes in early spring with its brilliant orange star-like flowers carried above a tuft of bright green leaves. Known to Elizabethan gardeners
C. Tomasinianus. From Bulgaria and a species which produces long tubes of rich violet-blue. The variety Whitewell Purple bears most attractive red-purple blooms and is lovely planted with the species vernus albus from the Alps. This species will reproduce itself from its own seed and so increases rapidly especially in grass.
C. verskolor. Farrer says of this variety that ‘a hundred forms may be found among the rocks by the sea along the Riviera’ and it is indeed a beauty during early March.
THE SPRING-FLOWERING DUTCH HYBRIDS
Here is a selection of the best of the modern hybrids that are an essential part of the crocus garden. Most of them producing larger blooms than the other species, they are at their best during March and early April when massed under orchard or parkland trees or in the short grass of lawn or bank. They are excellent too for pot culture in coldor home, flowering when most of the spring-flowering species are over.
Early Perfection. Almost a pure navy blue and bearing a very large bloom. At its best early in March.
Enchantress. Bears a huge bloom of real Wedgewood blue. Jeanne d’Arc. Produces a huge bloom of purest white.
Kathleen Parlow. A magnificent white with a striking pale yellow throat.
Mammoth. Recognized the finest of the yellow varieties, pro-. ducing a huge cup-shaped bloom and in flower over a long period. Niggeroy. The deepest purple to follow The Sultan.
Pallas. An old variety introduced in 1914, producing white flowers heavily striped pale blue.
Queen of the Blues. Produces a large refined bloom of soft sky blue.
Remembrance. The colour of the old-fashioned lilac and remains in bloom for a long period.
Striped Beauty. A popular novelty being grey-white, striped with porcelain blue.
The Sultan. Very deep purple of perfect shape.
White Lady. Possibly the largest white and grows well any-. Where.
Each of the spring-flowering species are suitable for pot culture and they will come into bloom four to five weeks earlier than as stated when flowering in the open.