harbingers of spring – the crocus

15, Mar, 2016 Darrah Cole

It is officially an early spring. And the bulbs already blooming are proof.
Crocus are bursting out everywhere on The Greenway – in the North End, the Urban Arboretum, and Fort Point Channel parks. These early crocus are one of the first pollen sources for the local bees, who have been out foraging and collecting with determination.

Crocus 'Majestic Lavendar Mix'

Crocus ‘Majestic Lavender Mix’ with a foraging bee

Majestic Mix with bee pollen 3

Crusted with pollen

Majestic Mix with pollen 2

Crocus ‘Majestic Lavender Mix’ and pollen laden bee

Our crocus species include the early blooming  flavus, crysanthus and tomassiana,  and the larger, later blooming vernalis. We now have 17 selections of spring blooming crocus throughout the Greenway, and 5 mixes combining a variety of warm and cool color selections, and mixing species with hybrid forms. Crocus are technically corms, biologically distinct from bulbs and tubers but serving the same purpose of storing food while the plants are dormant.

Crocus t. Barr's Purple P19






Crocus t. Barr's Purple

Crocus tomassiana ‘Barr’s Purple’

Crocus P8 crocus chrysanthus 'Advance'

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Advance’

In addition we have 6 fall blooming crocus; 4 colchicum varieties and 2 autumn blooming crocus. The colchicum produce lush foliage in the spring – feeding the corms for their fall blossoms. Find out more about fall crocus from Tori’s blog.


Lush spring foliage of the fall colchicum

Other bulbs are emerging in Chinatown, Dewey Square, everywhere! and while we are not expecting heavy blooms for a few  weeks, some early narcissus are already in flower. I was surprised to see the brilliant spots of daffodil yellow in the North End slopes, and more here and there along the ride down to Chinatown. There should be plenty to see over the next month as the spring equinox passes and the warm weather continues.