Early Spring Plant of the Month: Dutch Crocus
Plant of the Month
Dutch crocuses (Crocus vernus hybrids) are ideal for naturalizing in grass, perhaps in an informal swathe at the edge of a lawn, or in rougher grass in a semi-wild garden or on a bank. Flower colour ranges from intense purple, through shades of mauve and lilac, to vivid yellow or pure white. Named varieties are available, or buy packs of mixed colour corms.
To ensure that the corms build up strength for the following year’s, do not mow the lawn for the first time until the crocus leaves have died down. If left undisturbed, naturalized crocuses will eventually form dense clumps.
Other early spring flowers
A wide selection of bulbs is available for early spring colour. These include Dutch hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis hybrids), grape hyacinths (Muscari species), narcissi and, early tulips and many of the dwarf irises, such as Iris danfordiae.
These bulbs provide vivid colour in all shades, so there is plenty of scope for planting colour themes or multicoloured plantings. Biennial polyanthus primulas (Primula polyantha) make ideal bedding partners for many bulbs, as do common English daisies (Bellis perennis Monstrosa varieties).
For taller early spring colour, there are several attractive shrubs to choose from — such as pink, red or white camellias, sweet-scented daphnes,( ), Japanese quince (Chaenomeles) and yellow forsythia. The white-flowered Magnolia stellata will flower while quite young as a small shrub; with age it will develop into a small, multitrunked tree.