Growing concern: Be reckless with saffron

It is now It’s time to start ordering and purchasing spring flowering plants. However, it’s not time to plant them yet!

I’ll give you the standard list next week, but today, how about some bulbs you planted in the fall that are now blooming in the fall?

Colchicum bulbs are one of the most popular fall flowering plants. They also make me think of the crocus crocus, another gorgeous fall-blooming bulb, and since I haven’t written an article about any of these gorgeous bulbs, I guess I only have myself to blame for their lack of popularity here on the peninsula.

Colchicum is a collection of fall-flowering bulbs that contains approximately 160 different species. They are native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, making them ideally suited to growing and propagating here on the northern Olympic Peninsula (think lavender).

Saffron meadow

Colchicum is commonly referred to as autumn crocus or meadow crocus and basically resembles a giant crocus. What makes this plant fascinating is the fact that the flower’s ovary is underground; Thus, Colchicum produces a long flower stalk.

This plant also produces its leaves in the spring, and the leaves have a very glossy appearance and are a deep dark green color.

Then the foliage dies back in the summer, and when fall arrives, the flower emerges from the ground, without any leaves.

This gives a surreal look to the area, as these huge crocus-like flowers appear to be drifting above the ground.

Colchicum is also very hardy, and soon a patch will form as the bulbs, which are actually monkeys, multiply.

They can be found in a color range from lilac to pink, lilac to pink, and even violet or pure white.

Colchicum can be forced indoors, which means you can make it thrive in a pot indoors, then plant it outside for years of future enjoyment.

So please, go to the various Peninsula nurseries and see if you can purchase some of these unusual, beautiful and interesting fall flowering bulbs.


Saffron is a very ancient and very expensive spice, derived from the crocus plant, commonly known as saffron saffron. This is also a large plant and flower compared to its cousin the spring flowering crocus.

When I say large, I’m talking about a height of 8 to 12 inches and a flower size of 2 to 3 inches. One corm (bulb-type plant) will produce up to four of these large flowers.

It has been cultivated and bred for over 4,000 years and has a history of use as an early dye. In fact, prehistoric cave drawings dating back about 50,000 years, containing saffron-based dyes, have been found in contemporary Iran.

Saffron saffron itself cannot reproduce naturally; It has evolved from heavy use (and overproduction).

Undoubtedly derived from the crocus varieties found in Crete and Greece, Colchicum thrives elsewhere with a climate similar to the Mediterranean (which we have here on the peninsula) – dry summers, rainy or humid winters, and moderate, sandy temperatures. . The soil is well-drained and poor in nutrients.

The plant itself prefers full sunlight and does very poorly in shady conditions.

Spices are expensive

It takes about 150 flowers to produce just one gram of saffron, making it one of the most expensive spices in the world.

Its reputation also drives its sales. It was said that Cleopatra used saffron as an aphrodisiac. It has been used in ancient times as a treatment for about 90 diseases. Saffron was (and still is) used in dyes, perfumes, and body washes.

It was also desirable for use in magical and spiritual rituals. Saffron was believed to heal battle wounds and bring good luck when woven into one’s clothing. Above all, as a food enhancing seasoning.

Saffron crocus can bring acclaim to your garden as a wonderful flowering perennial plant and it seems to make you lucky because of how easy it is to grow due to our ideal conditions.

Saffron crocus varieties, such as Colchicum, are available in a range of pastel colours. It’s a perfect companion plant, so try mixing them together around your flower beds for blooms you’re sure to notice.

Be modern and trendy by stepping back in time to a time long ago with these little-known but admired fall flowering plants.

Be hip and stay well!


Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental gardener who dreams of Clallam and Jefferson counties being recognized nationally as “The Flower Peninsula of the USA.” Send him questions via Peninsula Daily News, PO Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email (subject line: Andrew May).

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