Plant of the week: Crocus speciosus

There are 17 species of Autumn flowering crocus but ‘Crocus Speciosus’ has been particularly successful here at Gravetye Manor.

crocus-speciosus-oxonian

It is native to Eastern Europe and Asia but thrives happily in our wild flower meadows where it can enjoy the sun. It is one of the most vigorous of the Autumn species and the flowers are now appearing overnight in great swathes of lilac and blue. As many of the surrounding plants are starting to wane this crocus gives us a welcome dash of colour before Winter takes hold!

Another species which is successfully propagated here is ‘Crocus Sativa’. Their waxy lilac petals give protection from frost, and the vivid Crimson stigmas known as saffron are worth their weight in gold and will be used on the menu by Head Chef George. They were first cultivated in Greece and are more commonly known as the saffron crocus.

crocus-sativus-crocus-safron-bulb

Generally it’s quite easy to propagate crocuses, they do well in short grass but should be planted in July or August in generous clumps , about 5cm apart and at least 10cm deep.

Fay.

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