It’s still cool July weather, with nights down to 1.6 degrees, but various little bulbs – snowdrops, crocus and some tiny Narcissus - are popping up with a grin. Woodland crocus (Crocus tomasinianus, below) is tough and petite with silvery buds opening to show lilac within; a lovely form with outer petals purple (not silver) is maybe `Lilac Beauty’. There is a very pretty pure white form too; tiny, great in pots and brought to the front door to enjoy when in bloom. From Bulgaria, Hungary and former Yugoslavia, Crocus tomasinianus is said to self-sow (hence sheets of it in some gardens and its popularity as a bulb to naturalise in lawn) but sadly my garden is not cool enough for this.
New for me is Crocus sieberi ssp sieberi (above), opening in the weak sunshine. Barely 75mm high, this subspecies hails from the White Mountains of Crete above about 1000m altitude so I’ll treasure it, keep its roots cool, and hope it flowers again next year.
Crocus grow from Spain to western China and so far some crocus have thrived for me but I don’t take them for granted, particularly in my garden at an altitude of only 170m. Larger Dutch hybrids may be more reliable but I prefer petite flowers – to the bemusement of some of my sisters.