Whenever the season changes, my mind’s eye starts picturing an all-new panorama of plants and flowers growing “out there.”
In the fall, I picture pumpkins and Indian Corn and apples. Winter means squashes and root vegetables and evergreens. Summer is a rainbow of multicolored flowers and vegetables. But spring. . . . spring is the beginning of all of these. Every season’s traditional flowers and vegetables begin in the spring.
One of the first spring flowers to appear is the crocus – my favorite flower, by the way. Crocuses symbolize hope. Crocuses can poke up through the snow and bloom in spite of winter’s best efforts.
A long time ago, spring-flowering bulbs were horrifically expensive – hundreds of dollars for a single bulb! Nowadays, you can buy 50 crocus bulbs for less than ten dollars! Spring bulbs are a fantastic bargain, in fact; you’ll pay for them once, and they’ll come back year after year in even greater quantities, for they replicate themselves underground quickly. After just a few seasons, you’ll have three or four times the number of flowers than you planted!
Crocus bulbs are called “corms,” and they are planted flat-side-down and pointy-side-up. If you reverse that, they might not grow at all. Plant the corms in bunches for the best effect, although many people like to plant a single corm here and there just for the beauty of a single blossom in the midst of a lawn or field. Your call.
It’s a good idea to wear gloves when gardening; you never know when a sharp stone or sliver of glass or vicious biting reptile* might be lurking in the soil.
Leave a few inches around each corm. Remember, each corm will replicate itself many times over as the years go by.
Crocuses are ideal for planting all over a lawn or even on a gravesite as the blossoms are gone before it’s mowing time. Plant the corms several inches deep. Oh, and don’t mow until the flower’s leaves are well wilted; the leaves of most flowers live on, after the blossoms die, and letting the leaves alone until they wilt puts nutrients back into the flower for next year.
Item: Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, comes from crocus stigmas, the yellow pollen-covered thready things growing out of the center of the flower.
There’s a lot of science connected to the planting and growing and blossoming of spring bulbs that are sown in the fall. The bulbs need the dormancy of cold winter weather before they can come to life in the spring. You can’t plant a crocus bulb in April. Well, you CAN, but you won’t get a flower out of it.
You might even notice several separate little sprouts growing out of one corm. Each of those will become a flower, so don’t cut them off!
To sum up: plant crocus bulbs/corms anywhere from October – December, and start watching for the beautiful star-like blossoms around March. If squirrels eat your bulbs, plant again next fall and put a layer of mulch over the bulb bed. Sometimes the squirrels like to feast on corms and sometimes the squirrels let the corms alone.
Don’t plant bulbs where the ground holds water; the bulbs will rot. The purple shades tend to be hardier than the white or gold blossoms, but if you mix the colors up the effect is a lot prettier. Crocuses grow well on hillsides, and while they will grow in the shade, you’ll get more, larger, and healthier flowers if you plant them in the sun.
As with all flowers, vegetables, and plants in general, you’ll get better results if you place a pinch of Water Gel crystals beneath each seed, bulb, or bedding plant. The polymers will expand when the plants are watered, and they will keep the plants hydrated. Gardening with Water Gel Crystals is easy, and you’ll get healthier results!
Besides turning into beautiful flowers, planting bulbs in the fall that you won’t see any results from until spring teaches us patience. If you have children, this is an especially important lesson – for them, AND for you.
*Just kidding about the vicious biting reptile. Then again, I really don’t know what kind of animals lurk in your neighborhood. . . .