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Plant autumn crocus corms now15 August 2014
Plant autumn crocus corms now for a spectacular display of 'naked' flowers rising as if by magic from the ground. These lovely flowers have the unusual habit of producing their leaves after they bloom – so you can appreciate their subtle, delicate beauty in splendid isolation, without any distractions.
The name is somewhat misleading as they aren't true crocus at all, but colchicums – more closely related to lilies. Their large yet delicate flowers are a highlight of autumn, and you'll find a mouthwatering choice on sale at our garden centre right now. Among our all-time favourites are the huge snowy-white goblets of C. speciosum 'Album', showy double pink 'Waterlily' and huge, free-flowering violet coloured 'The Giant'.
Give them your sunniest spot in rich, free-draining yet moisture-retentive soil, and plant corms at about three or four times their own depth in generous drifts. Take a fistful and scatter them gently across the area you want to plant, then plant them where they fall to get a natural look. Add a dark-leaved heuchera like 'Palace Purple' as a sumptuous contrast to the paler forms; silver or grey-leaved plants, like artemisia or low-growing alpine snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) set off pale pink varieties to perfection.