Flower Garden Stories: Legendary Spring Flowering Bulbs and Plants

After an unusual spring and a glorious summer, its time to start thinking about autumn planting. Our full autumn range is now available for pre-order, ready for you to start thinking about what you’ll be planting this year for your spring 2019 display.

To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve taken a look at how these gorgeous flowers have been catching our eye for thousands of years. Many of the plants we sell to this day have origin stories in the myths and legends of ancient cultures. In Ancient Greece, everything from the sky to the tiny flowers of the earth had their own deity and mythology.

We’ve chosen six of our favourite plants and bulbs that earned a place in the stories of Ancient Greek mythology;

Narcissus

The story of Narcissus is one of vanity and, yes, narcissism.

The beauty of Narcissus was apparently so incomparable that his mother feared he would meet some tragic demise, but was consoled by a local seer that his life would be long and happy so long as he never recognised himself. Like most of these ancient prophesies, Naricissus’ fate came to pass when he fell madly in love with his own reflection and drowned trying to reach himself.

The beautiful Narcissi sprang up where he died, their delicate nodding heads hanging downwards presumably to admire their own reflection.

Anemone

Greek myth states that the Anemone was traditionally white, but was turned red by the death of Aphrodite’s lover Adonis. A similar connection is made to Jesus, who’s crucifixion in Christianity is often associated with the anemone when depicted in art.

Crocus

The story of Krokos in Greek myth depicts him as a young man who’s lover, the nymph Smilax, had died tragically. In his greif, Krokos prayed to the Olympians for mercy. The gods deemed to turn the man into a Crocus and his lover to an evergreen tree, so that the pair may live in each other’s company for eternity. The delicate crocus can often be found flowering in the shade of larger plants to this day.

 

Iris

The colourful, delicate Iris are supposedly named for the greek goddess of the same name. Iris, which means eye of heaven, would deliver the word of the gods to earth via a rainbow. It make sense that the flower would take this name for its rainbow of colours and unusual eyedrop markings.

Hyacinth

Another tragic love story of greek mythology was that of Hyacinth, a mortal who found himself in a love triangle with the sun god Apollo and Zephyrus, the western wind. When their quarrelling lead to his demise, Apollo’s tears burst into life as they hit the ground and bloomed into wonderful, fragrant Hyacinth.

Peony

This particular myth makes more sense in its own time. Paeon worked as a healer under the god Asclepius, who’s symbolism still inspires the medical industry with the Rod of Asclepius forming the logo of health organisations across the world. So talented was Paeon that Asclepius himself envied him, and the king of the gods himself was forced to intervene. In an effort to save the healer from his tutor, Zeus turned Paeon into the flower Paeony, which was in ancient times more widely used for its apparent medicinal properties.

Hopefully these have offered some inspiration to modern gardeners also, and right now you can shop our full autumn range online with our latest free gifts. Get planning!

Crocus: Spring Garden Guide

CROCUS-VERNUS-MIXED

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 naturalizing bubs is a delight, and where space is limited crocus lend themselves well to creating a lively potted display.

1-Crocus-mixed

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!

Crocus-Mixed-bed

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 fertilize 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.

Fun Fact

You can save money by growing your own luxury items!

Grow you own saffron

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…..

Saffron-field

If you’re planning on growing saffron for your own use however, 50-60 flowers will probably get you a tablespoons worth.

Saffron

Harvest by hand – even commercial growers have to harvest saffron by hand – that’s why it’s so expensive.

Harvesting-saffron-by-hand

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!

Autumn Flowering Crocus

Autumn Flowering Crocus
Autumn Flowering Crocus

Crocus Sativus Saffron

 

Our fragrant autumn flowering crocus Sativus has been grown for their expensive spice in Britain since the Tudor times. These beautiful purple flowers bloom in Autumn where you can remove their red ribbons with tweezers to collect the spice for your own use.

Crocus Species (Winter/ Flowering)

Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus
Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus

Crocus chrysanthus Advance

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Advance’

 

This unique colouring of bronze and yellow blooms are shaded with lilac along the outside with a creamy yellow inside. A pure delight for early spring that, if left undisturbed will multiply year after year.

Large Flowering Crocus

large
Large Flowering Crocus

Crocus Flower Record

 

This gorgeous Crocus has deep purple blooms with contrasting orange stamens and stigma and is a pure delight for brightening up the garden in the spring time.