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Colchicum autumnal commonly known as Autumn crocus


 
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James Kilkelly
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Colchicum autumnal commonly known as Autumn crocus Reply with quote

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This is Colchicum autumnal commonly known as Autumn crocus (not related to the spring crocus).




These corms are natives of Northern Africa.
Flowers are produced during September and November in shades of pink and white.
They actually produce these flowers whilst leafless, with blooms that are around 10cms (4 inches) across.
Broad and fleshy, green leaves arrive fashionably late after Colchicum autumnal has finished blooming.
These corms will thrive in sun to partial shade, so a position to the front of border, rockery, container or woodland edge is appropriate.
A front row seat must be reserved for these beauties seeing as their ultimate height is just 17cms (7 inches).

When you get the corms back from the garden centre place them out of reach of small hands, as they are poisonous if eaten.
I cannot impress too much the need to get these bulbs into the ground as soon as possible as like most bulbs they will deteriorate with long-term exposure to air.
Again, like most bulbs they prefer a free draining soil to avoid rotting, so if your soil tends to be heavy or sticky try using a home made bulb planting mix to allow bulb planting.
Create a bulb planting mix by blending equal parts of topsoil, multi-purpose compost and fine grit or gravel.
For every average sized bucket load of this mix you can also add 1/3 handful of pelleted poultry manure to act as a slow release fertiliser.
Use this mix to fill beneath the bulb and to backfill the bulbs planting hole.

Most gardening books will tell you to plant Autumn crocus at a depth of 10cms (4 inches) whilst spacing individual bulbs at 22cms (9 inches), personally I agree with the depth but tend to disagree with the spacing.
I cannot even begin to imagine what a host of Autumn crocus would look like set out at regimented 22cms (9 inches) spacings.
My best advice to you would be to cast out handful after handful of this bulbs and plant them where they land. Here's hoping they don't land on the patio! Smile

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