Thursday, March 04, 2010

Plant of the month: March

Crocus chrysanthus 'Snow Bunting'

Like jewels warmed by the sunshine, the crocuses are waking up.

I have many in my garden: deep purple and profligate Crocus tommasinianus, purest yellow C. chrysanthus, pale violet hybrids of uncertain descent.

But the most beautiful crocus in my garden is one which I only planted for the first time last year, despite many years of coveting its silky white blooms. I now wouldn't be without it.

C. chrysanthus 'Snow Bunting' was bred by the legendary E. A. Bowles, who was something of a crocus buff in his time and produced about 14 hybrids, all named after birds. Most can be found in the National Collection, held at Myddleton House in Enfield.

I have a dozen 'Snow Bunting' in a deep blue ceramic container just outside my back door, rather fancifully planted with some dark bruise-coloured pansies in a vague sort of black-and-white concoction.

Never mind the cliché: it looks utterly fabulous and has me smiling every time I walk out the door. Even when the sun isn't out (i.e. most of the time) the crocuses still look elegant with threads of purple running up the outsides of their closed buds.

But the other morning, the sun came out and hit them full on. I think the only things more excited about it than me were the bees: they couldn't get enough of those joyous butter-yellow throats. And nor could I. The scent filled the air - I've always had to get down on my hands and knees for that exquisite perfume before, but not this time.

It's moments like this that spring was invented for.


Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I think these are so perfect I have just rushed off and added them to my endless list of things to have in my garden. I have tommasianus (?) which I love but these are just beautiful. Will they naturalise or do they need to be in a pot?

The Constant Gardener said...

hello Elizabeth, they really are perfect, I promise I'm not exaggerating :D

I'm not sure about naturalising (not like tommies, but then they scatter themselves all over the place) but I'm told they bulk up much quicker than many crocuses (croci?) and form pleasingly large clumps in a relatively short time. This is the first year I've had them so I'll let you know!

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