The Parkland Meadow is waking up
Having soldiered on through the wettest winter in decades, it is time for the garden team to be rewarded for endless hours of leaf clearing in squelching mud: 70,000 crocus have appeared in the Parkland Meadow creating much more appealing ‘puddles’ than the incessant rain during the past months.
Crocus are our own addition to the parkland: The spring spectacle in this ancient meadow used to kick off with species Narcissus pseudolobularis in March. We wanted to extend the flowering period, and crocuses were the perfect choice for a late February to early March display.
As described in the October archive, we add 9,000 crocuses each year, gradually building up the numbers required for a stunning display in a 3-acre meadow. We plant the bulbs in groups of 12, and we mix the varieties to create a randomized effect.
We also use a mixture of small-flowered species crocus (3 - 4 inches) and large-flowered Dutch crocus varieties (4 – 5 inches). A ‘staple’ variety, the small-flowered Crocus tommasianus spreads easily by seeding, producing a flower after only 3 years. By including this variety, we hope to eventually connect the colonies into a continuous carpet. The other species we use is blue and white Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ which may not spread as easily but is very showy.
From the many available varieties of large-flowered crocus, we chose the deep purple ‘Flower Record’, snowy white ‘Joan of Arc’ and blue and white striped ‘Pickwick’. We hope that, over time, these large bulbs will spread by offsets, thereby increasing the size of the colonies.
That’s the theory, at least. Time will show whether nature is inclined to oblige…