There’s nothing like the first crocus sighting of the year. While it doesn’t necessarily mean spring is right around the corner – it certainly pushes the winter gloom away!
Whilst I love sightings in parks and woodlands, it’s rather lovely to create your own display at home. In a larger garden a secluded out of the way patch with a host of naturalising bubs is a delight, and where space is limited crocus lend themselves well to creating a lively potted display.
Of course, one of their best features is that they are great naturalisers, creating a bigger display each year as they mature.
How to plant
Crocus corms like good drainage and are really well suited to rock gardens as well as beds and borders. Plant 5-7cm deep in a good sunny position. The bottom of the corms are flat, but if you plant them upside down nature will sort itself out so don’t worry too much!
The natural look…
Crocus will come back year after year, making them ideal if you want to ‘naturalise’ an area in your garden. Pick a well-drained spot that gets plenty of sunshine, toss your bulbs into that area, then plant them where they land. The idea is to get a natural clumped and haphazard display rather than neat rows you would find in a more formal setting. They will do well if you fertilise your crocus every other year, and you should only cut down the foliage when they have fully died off naturally for the season, other-wise you may not get as good a showing of flowers the following year.
Saffron is a rare and highly coveted spice and if you’ve ever brought it you’ll already know it’s literally worth more than its own weight in gold! To grow your own is quite easy – however it takes quite a lot of flowers for a good crop. One flower will produce three strands or ribbons of saffron – so to get a pounds work (450g) you would need about 50,000-75000 flowers! So unless you have an acre of land…..
If you’re planning on growing saffron for your own use however, 50-60 flowers will probably get you a tablespoons worth.
Harvest by hand – even commercial growers have to harvest saffron by hand – that’s why it’s so expensive.
The good news is thanks to crocus’ brilliant ability to naturalise –each year they will multiply and flower again giving you an ever increasing display - and stock of spice!