Something new and vibrant waved at me from across the garden this last week–a bright horizon of purple, beckoning me to come near. As I got closer, an exotic perfume wafted out to greet me and drew me in like an embrace. The new saffron crocus have popped up and burst into little violet-colored stars!
And I wasn’t the only one seduced by these sirens. The honeybees were going mad for them, visiting each crocus at high speed as if they’d had too much yerba mate and this was the last pollen left on earth.
I’ve been wanting to grow saffron crocus (crocus sativus) for many years, but our rampant gopher population gave me great doubts about its survival in the ground.
Two years ago I dipped my toes in and planted a handful on one side of a raised vegetable bed, but they get disturbed there during crop rotations and didn’t bloom last year. So this year I made a firmer commitment and lined up some shallow planters out of gopher reach. (Just using some boards atop sawhorses, with the planters on top. It isn’t elegant, but is working so far).
The aspiring artist in me loves the color combinations of the saffron crocus — the bright purple petals setting off the saturated gold stamens and scarlet red stigmas, all atop the thin, sprightly green leaves. In fact this reminds me… if you love color and whimsy as I do, check out this equally bold and living-loud fuzzy pencil case in purple and lime green, which was shared by garden blogger Off The Edge Gardening. The post is called The Unforgotten. I love it! As one commenter said there, it reminds them of Sesame Street. (Speaking of which, have you see the Sesame Street documentary? It’s terrific.)
I ordered this batch of saffron crocus from Renee’s Garden, and they arrived in time for planting and came with instructions.
Additional growing tips came from Amelia of A French Garden and I want to send her thanks for her posts and years of experience growing saffron. She also keeps honeybees and shares about them and many other garden delights. Check out her blog!
Saffron takes time and care to harvest. It’s the world’s most expensive spice, and most of it is grown in Iran and harvested by women who make only $5 a day — a TEN HOUR day 😢.
I hope our saffron will survive and thrive, undisturbed by rodents or squirrels, and multiply for future harvests! Do you grow saffron? Would enjoy hearing about it in the comments.
In other garden news, there is the amazing gift of rains we’ve had lately. So far we’ve gotten about 13 inches in our location, which is about 2 inches more than we had in all of last year. I don’t think we’ll be out of drought danger until we get around 25 inches or so (to refill some of the reservoirs), but the rains have eased the now-annual wildfire danger.
Looking out at the landscape, the dry fields are undergoing that miraculous winter transformation from crackly beige to a dewy, verdant green carpet. Even the seasonal pond has a small amount of standing water, which hopefully bodes well for frog-breeding this winter.
Also, more coming soon on houseplants and an heirloom treasure received! 🌟
Until then, wishing you peace and a lovely garden or nature spot to bask in. -lisa