Crocus Vernus 'Joan of Arc
If you love the sophisticated subtlety of a white garden, then consider planting swathes of bulbs of the Joan of Arc Crocus variety in your lawn or grassy areas, or simply in pots or borders, for stunning results in your early spring garden, year after year.
Not only is the Crocus Vernus, or Dutch crocus, as it is more commonly known, the largest Crocus variety, but it is also one of the hardiest, being one of the first spring flowers daring to come out when few others dare brave the cold.
For a natural look when planting in lawns or grassy areas, simply throw handfuls of the bulbs onto the ground and plant them where they land. A warning here, to lawn mowing enthusiasts – once blooming has finished, it is vital NOT to cut the grass for six weeks afterwards, in order to encourage self-seeding. Lift the corms every four to five years to divide and replant.
The bees absolutely love Crocuses, and being one of the first flowers of spring, they provide an invaluable food source for bees and other insects.
The first records of Crocus cultivation came from the island of Crete in Roman times. It wasn't until the 1560s that the first Crocus was seen in the Netherlands, when Crocus corms were brought back from Constantinople by the Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador to the Sublime Porte.
Crocuses are members of the Iris (Iridaceae) family and the word Crocus comes from the Greek name 'krokos' meaning saffron. However, there is only one species of Crocus that provides Saffron, the Crocus Sativus, which flowers in the autumn with large purple flowers and orange stigmas. Adding the stigmas, or saffron, to fish dishes is a must try, it is delicious!