The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Naturalised crocus bulbs

naturalised crocusesThese little fellows are brightening up a grim corner of the front garden. They pop up each spring and cover the grass with pale blue drifts.

My mother called them wild crocuses when she first spotted them and dug some up to take back to her garden in Cambridge. When I mentioned to the Alpine Couple that I had wild crocuses, they shook their heads and explained that there was no such thing. They claimed that they were commercially available and had just naturalised in the garden. I have never seen these for sale. “Normal” crocuses look clumpy compared to the elegance of these. Can anybody help with this mystery?

Our crocuses bring to mind a delightful gardening book,
In a Gloucestershire Garden by Canon Henry Ellacombe. This book contains a collection of “papers” that Canon Ellacombe wrote for the Guardian between 1890-1893. It was republished in 1982 and a quick foray onto Amazon just now sees it listed with a number of second hand booksellers.

This is no dry tome. When I first read this book I just couldn’t put it down. Half the book is dedicated to a month by month year in his garden and the other half focuses on areas that interested him, such as shrubs, roses and birds in the garden. He writes well and within seconds one is drawn into his world, thoughts and garden. My fantasy dinner party list always includes this man although I’m sure he’d probably would have preferred to share some sandwiches and a thermos of tea on a secluded seat in his garden. A great book for anyone who loves gardens and a great present for novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Our crocuses used to cover the whole of the front garden. When we put in our gravel drive six years ago, thousands were inadvertently culled. Yet each year a few manage to push their way up though the gravel. As Ellacombe marvels in his book, crocuses blooming in a gravel drive are truly miraculous.


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