Wednesday, April 05, 2006

100 Crocuses Is Not That Many

Last fall I planted 100 crocuses along our front path. I anticipated a knock-out spring show in shades of yellow, white, and purple. Beginning in February, I paced the walk almost daily, searching for crocus shoots amongst the grass. As luck would have it, Mike, not I, spotted the first dark green blades emerging from our winter-worn grass. Weeks after the established crocus had begun to bloom, my new bulbs put forth flowers. The effect was underwhelming.

Each bulb puts up a single flower, maybe two. Despite the number of plants, there are only 20 or so in bloom at once. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to miss the display altogether.

My plan was visionary, but I neglected to realize that it would take more than one season to get the effect of walking on a carpet of flowers. Left undisturbed, my bulbs will multiply into small colonies that will bloom profusely, but that will take time. If I really wanted an impressive show the first year, I probably should have planted 500 bulbs. As it is, I’m impatient and will probably plug another 100 along the path this fall.

I don’t have a flower carpet, yet, but I’m still cheered by the spots of color in the drab lawn. The blossoms have even inspired me to continue setting the pavers: eleven down, eighteen left to go!

(Unfortunately, you only see the “unset” pavers in the photo.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Our club spent almost $1,000, at direct-from-Holland prices no less, buying up small bulbs for a nearby park and waited anxiously for this fabulous show that would dazzle the whole town. Well, you know the ending. What a fizzle. Crocuses in my lawn have yielded similarly underwhelming results. And they may be small but hundreds of them start to add up, ya know?

3:46 PM  
Blogger Garden Obsession said...

Oh, I feel your pain. It sounds so impressive, "I planted 200 bulbs this weekend!" but the result is always spotty and pathetic for me. I'm learning the ropes. This year I planted in clusters, but they were TOO close and dense so they didn't have room to do as well as they could have. Next year it will be PERFECT. Or else!

12:34 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I started out with a similar miscalculation. In 1994 I planted over 250 bulbs, certain it would be enough. Not. In 1996 I planted over 500 more. A decade later, I can say, without qualification, they look great. Photos and story here: http://www.coldclimategardening.com/essays/kathy-purdy/the-crocus-bank/

Actually, it's looked great for several years. Every place where you see a cluster of crocus, I originally planted one bulb. I used to remind my kids every spring: "Don't play here. Flowers will be coming." I don't have to do that anymore. They look forward to them and we all try to be the one who sees the first open blossom.

I am glad now that I planted them in subsoil, because the voles would have eaten them all by now if the digging was easy.

5:48 PM  

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