Monday, March 28, 2011

Crocus: Pearls of Spring

Each day I walk the property, carefully noting signs of spring.  Sometimes the changes are tiny and sometimes flowers appear out of nowhere.  This year the crocus did the magic appearing act.  My very early ones, Blue Pearl and Cream Beauty are fading fast, but of course, I have pictures.  These little guys are growing in the lawn where there used to be a purple plum tree.  

Isn't Blue Pearl cute?

And a dash of Cream Beauty

My next crocus to appear on the scene are larger and I'm afraid I don't know the cultivar.  I thought I kept the bag, but no.  So, they are mystery crocus with singularly glowing stigmas.

We also have planted a smattering of crocus at work and so here's some lovely white ones to round out the crocus gallery.

Small, but lovely!

Crocus are native to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and all the way to China.  We get saffron from the stigmas of the autumn blooming Crocus sativus, which doesn't really grow here.  Think about how many strands of dried stigmas make an ounce of saffron and you understand why it is one of the most expensive spices in the world.  Crocus has been cultivated as a flower in Europe since the 1560s and European settlers brought them along to the U.S.  For me, I'm a huge fan of anything that blooms early and I try to plant a handful of crocus each year.  I purposely forget where I planted them.  I like to be surprised.

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