Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Puff Of Smoke...

When I want to find something snippy to say about a particular flower bulb, there's no better source than the late Dicky Graff. She skewered many a little flower with her pen; her comment on the fall-blooming Crocus kotschyanus (shown above) is that it "is reticent to the point of being almost invisible. The flower is lilac, so pale and muted that a patch in full bloom has no more impact than a drift of wood smoke." Other writers have commented that as soon as it opens, a little rain shower inevitably comes along and shatters it. It has been called floppy, shy-blooming and even non-blooming in spite of the fact that it seeds all over the place. One gardener writes plaintively that he thinks his bulbs must be infected with a virus, because in spite of lots of foliage he never sees a flower.
My bulbs of Crocus kotschyanus came into this garden riding with a hosta that I dug up from my first garden eighty miles to the north of here; unfortunately that hosta was planted here in a very shady spot, guaranteeing poor blooming for this little sun-loving crocus. When it first started showing its foliage in my hosta bed, I knew it was a crocus, and watched for it to bloom in the spring: nothing. It kept multiplying and spreading, but still no blooms. Finally, one dark fall day, I spied these wispy little blooms, as grey and windswept as the day itself, sheltering underneath a hosta. Now each fall I get perhaps a dozen straggly blooms from about a hundred bulbs. The flowers come, then rapidly go, almost unnoticed and unlamented, in a few days. I dimly recall that when I first bought this bulb quite a few years ago for my first garden, it was called Crocus zonatus... like so many other plants, its name has mutated into an unpronounceable jumble of consonants. I intend to take a trowel out and dig up a few to place in a sunny spot to see if I get a better effect from this little wanderer from the rocky wilds of Turkey.
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My Crocus kotschyanus is more blue and a cultivated flower bulb with the botanical name Cr.kot. "Artabir". I like it very much, a wonderful Crocus.
Have a nice day Wurzerl
I really enjoy your postings. You converse as you write. I've never seen such a diminutive bloom in the fall. It reminds me of something one might be excited to discover in the spring.
Well, I am glad to read this. I've had that crocus kosoidaj['weojhg'p HSIe;giohaw'ovhisdl for about three years now and all I ever have gotten is nice grassy foliage in late spring and nothing in the fall.

They're like the Cubbies...maybe next year.

wurzel... I see pictures of some of the nice clones (especially the blue); I might spring for some next year, but I'm short on sunny spots.

Shady... thanks for the feedback (it IS appreciated).

Kylee... that's the usual experience; mine took years to bloom (but they are too shaded). Ignore them , and they'll bloom.
Don - I'm ignoring them so much that I almost forgot they were there. LOL. I need patience. NOW.
GUESS WHAT???????!!!! If my dear husband hadn't been paying attention and pointed them out to me, I would have missed them. They're blooming!! :-))))
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