by Dr. Janis Ruksans & Liga Popova


Outside is minus 5 C, catalogue is already published and soon I will be forced to stop accepting of orders as my tax-limit to keep small farmers status quickly fills. So came time to put captions for last season pictures, place them in proper folders. Few I want to show here. The first two are from my Anemone bed, then new selection of Corydalis solida named 'Orange Glow' found a pair of years ago as self-sawn seedling in the lawn, and the last is Corydalis ruksansii - planted in my small rockery at end of one of raised beds in my polytunnel. There in general are planted Eremurus and some strangers - bulbous plants which I don't want to grow in larger numbers for one or another reason. But there I gave place for some of my favourites, too.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019 07:51

Today weather became lighter, some sun shines through thin clouds, so again I worked some time in greenhouse cleaning old flowers and registering development of plants. Still are blooming 9 autumn crocuses (caspius, niveus, longiflorus, aleppicus, hyemalis, laevigatus, melantherus and some cancellatus from Syria and SE Turkey) and the last blooming new species from Jordan now has already half-grown buds, so I hope that when I will bring it inside before next short frost wave will come, it will bloom with me allowing to make herbarium.
To normally spring bloomers, which started flowering I must add one more species - Crocus demirizianus - the form grown from seeds collected by Ibrahim. By his opinion it is late autumn blooming sample, may be even different species as was collected around 50 km to east from locus classicus of demirizianus. After discovering of autumn blooming Crocus heilbronniorum in NE Turkey, would not be great surprise that there would be another one autumn blooming annulate crocus. Now I will give to it greater attention. Crocus vitellinus from Syria showed flower bud in rosette of leaves.
Already blooms 6 spring blooming Colchicums, Gymnospermium altaicum, Muscari adilii, Hyacinthella sirtensis and spring blooming yellow Sternbergia fischeriana has large flower-buds.

Sunday, 08 December 2019 08:29

Crocus season almost finished (although spring bloomers are running). Still are blooming melantherus, laevigatus, some last flowers of niveus, caspius, aleppicus. Now main job is collect and delete old flowers - in dark and wet air they quickly get mould which goes down to corms and can kill them. Yesterday I maid current checking and cleaning. Only one crocus - new species from Jordan - still are not in bloom, but finally buds came out of leaf rosette. So not so much to work in greenhouse and I can prepare herbariums which still stay in herbarium press. On pictures preparing of herbarium and herbarium sheet, still without printed label, because could be new species; only original field slip inserted and written by pencil on outside.

Saturday, 07 December 2019 10:20

The first spring crocus started blooming in greenhouse - it is one of the Crocus hittiticus gatherings. Inside greenhouse now is very dark due snow cover and flowers not open. I checked my notes about this gathering and so I add picture from 2013, when this crocus was open on sunny day. This stock (JJVV-028B) is real autumn blooming. Principally C. hittiticus must be listed between winter blooming species, as most of stocks push out flowers at end of December, first half of January, but they all continue blooming in March after removing of winter cover.
On the first two pictures Crocus hittiticus today and 14th November, 2013
Still are blooming Crocus laevigatus (and some others, too)
And some reticulata irises hurry to come out - here Iranian 18IRS-090
Outside is snowing and snowing - our nursery today on the first picture, although according weather broadcast at weekend all will be melted.

Monday, 02 December 2019 12:11

Some more Crocus cartwrightianus pictures from Naxos

More you can see and read on Crocus forum of Scottish Rock Garden Club - November-2019 see: http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=17484.15

Thursday, 28 November 2019 14:20

There were some other bulbs in bloom, too. Almost everywhere we observed Colchicum pusillum - very tiny colchicum but with bright flowers in abundance. Prospero (autumn scilla) already finished blooming but Narcissus obsoletus just started.

Thursday, 28 November 2019 13:26

Passed almost 20 days since I returned from Greece, but only today I can show you some pictures because in Greece or on way back I got some virus infection and only today I can return to more or less productive job. I worked a little during all those days but my main job was to prepare new offer of bulbs for 2020, followed by registration of new orders - during first 3 days I got 45 orders - incredible number and some crocuses already are sold out.
But now I will return to Greece. Our small team visited 2 islands - the first was Naxos - very rocky with not so many good places for crocuses but with many fantastic sand beaches. Almost all land is divided into smaller or larger parcels separated by stone or wire-net fences to keep sheep on proper land. So not so many spots where it was easy to enter. Really we came around 20-30 days too early - crocuses only started blooming. As I already wrote - the first species observed were laevigatus and cartwrightianus. Now few more pictures of cartwrightianus and some landscapes from Naxos pictured near Potamia where we found the first flowers.

Thursday, 28 November 2019 12:33

Weather is dark and wet. Even crocuses as C. moabiticus which stay open even during night, don't want to bloom. So for pollination and getting of seeds I brought a pair of pots into room where in dry and warm air flowers quickly opened, were pollinated and brought back to greenhouse.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 12:27

Some more pictures of last week, made still in October:
The first two represents Crocus hyemalis - the first from Israel, the 2nd from Jordan
Then seem to be last flower of Crocus sakariensis
followed by new Crocus species from Turkey
and as last Crocus serotinus from Cabo de Sao Vincence

Friday, 01 November 2019 08:14

Crocus moabiticus usually here blooms at end of November or in December. I have two samples from Jordan and this season one already is in flowers. I collected anthers with pollens, put them in tea-bag and then in the small glass jar with silica gel to be kept into freezer. When another stock will start blooming, pollens will be used for pollination.
Another pair of pictures represents Crocus sativus - the triploid cultivated "species" used for production of saffron. On the first picture sample from Iran, on the 2nd - from Greece.
On last picture - last flowers of Crocus niveus from Peloponnesus in Greece.

Thursday, 31 October 2019 09:59

Outside temperature around zero. Snow changes to rain and back but in greenhouse  crocuses are still blooming. As flowers are closed, I'm showing pictures from last sunny days and this entry is dedicated to Crocus robertianus. There are 2 something separated areas of this species - on the first 2 pictures are last flowers from Northern area, collected by my Greek friend George at altitude 860 m, last two comes from Southern area near Varnakovo, most interesting is tricolored form - something resembling C. sublimis tricolor, although not so impressive and blooming in autumn.

Thursday, 31 October 2019 09:43

Some more pictures of last two days:
Crocus hadriaticus 18GRA-096 from mount-top over Cave of Peramo in N Greece, collected last autumn, blooming but without roots due extremely dry and hot autumn, so well rooted after planting here and grew without any problems forming good flowering size corms just after introduction.
Crocus hatayensis  was described by me. It is related to C. kotschyanus, but has different chromosome number and forms leaves already in autumn during blooming.
Crocus hellenicus from Varnakovo in Greece blooms much later than C. hellenicus from locus classicus in N Greece. I think the best form and as lowland population blooms much later than plants from type location growing in North and at higher altitudes.
Last picture is of Crocus hermoneus from Jordania.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019 14:45

The second sunny day. Outside last night temperature dropped to minus 5 but in greenhouse minimum was only minus 0.7 C. Crocuses continue blooming and sun allows to make some pollination and pictures.
At first new species (will be published) from Israel earlier regarded as aleppicus but has several very good features to separate both.
On the second picture typical C. aleppicus from Israel.
Then Crocus cancellatus aff. 14TUS-023 from Sandras Daģi in Mugla province, along road to Denizli.
Earlier I showed C. clusii with very light flowers, in this entry deeper purple toned plant from the same population
and as last - Crocus dilekyarensis described by me from W coast of Turkey - Dilek Yar mountains.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 10:55

Today again was sun, although air was cool - only + 4 C and in night offered frost and snowing. But crocuses continue blooming. In this entry hybrid between boryi and tournefortii from Dirk (I don't know is this cross made by him or it comes from wild - I collected similar on Crete)
Crocus caspius now rarely blooms with white flowers, the last ones usually becomes more and more bluish. Both flowers from same stock.
This Crocus cancellatus aff. comes from Syria, 100% reproduces itself from seeds and certainly isn't cancellatus - need own name.
I don't know which one of autumn crocuses will be "champion" in competition for smallest flower. The first candidates could be Cretan pumilus and Crocus cambessedesii shown here.
Started blooming the first runner for Tulips - every year with me it starts blooming in December, but this season already in October. On pictures Tulipa biflora from Kazakhstan  - semi-desert near Chinese  border.


Tuesday, 29 October 2019 17:38

Now last five pictures from last Friday. It seems that for some time there will be no new pictures as temperature today will drop down to minuses in night. May be I will bring some pot inside room to force blooming, but I'm not sure. Always this action caused some problems with following corm crop and all species which still didn't started blooming are rarities. Yesterdays wind + rain destroyed all flowers of outside blooming crocuses.
On Saturday I visited my old place to check by bees (my bees still stay there as around are 2 miles without farming and chemical use). Was surprised seeing in grass blooming of many autumn blooming crocuses regarded by me as not growable here outside. May be milder winters, may be protected by grass... they were not intentionally planted there, but I'm always using old potting mix to level grass, outside beds etc. and quite often some small corm or seeds escape attention and such a way goes to garden. My wife's perennial beds are full with crocuses, corydalis and other bulbs.
On the first picture one of the best of so named "Turkish Crocus pallasii" which of course need own name from surroundings of Labranda (population almost destroyed by wild boars).
Then very tiny form of Crocus pumilus from Crete.
And last 3 pictures are from Crocus tournefortii - the first from Rhodos Island, following two are white forms from Crete, but could be wild hybrids with C. boryi.


Monday, 28 October 2019 05:07

Outside dark, wet and horrible wind. Almost impossible to walk. Closed top windows of greenhouses and tomorrow few side windows will need repairing. Here still pictures from Friday.
The first 4 are from most aromatic autumn bloomer - Crocus longiflorus from Italy. Here you can watch variation of inside base colour.
The last picture - Crocus merlantherus

Sunday, 27 October 2019 15:04

Yesterday according weather broadcast should be full day of sun and it was prognosed as last sunny day during last days of October and start of November. Unfortunately already at midday came dark clouds, started drizzling but I succeed to use some hours for some pictures.
I'm starting with Crocus aleppicus from Syria, collected there before started war and following with new species up to last regarded as C. aleppicus from Israel.
The next pair is Crocus clusii from Ribamondego, Portugal - the first blooming with me. I nature it is growing in extremely acid soil.
The last is white form of Crocus goulimyi.

Saturday, 26 October 2019 06:17

Some more pictures from last week - this very fragrant blue Crocus laevigatus was collected between Crocus harveyi at locus classicus of last on Ikaria Island, E Aegean.
Still abundantly blooms another very fragrant species - Crocus longiflorus from Nebrodi r. Italy
Crocus oreocreticus from Lasiti Plain, Crete is quite variable, here lighter form of it
One of the most beautiful form of Crocus pallasii sensu lato was collected accidentally, out of flowers in spring between ruins of Ariasos, N of Antalya by my Czech friend Vaclav (it is well increasing clone). Population is very strange - some individuals more resemble C. assumaniae, some looks closer to kofudagensis, of course it is not pallasii, what you can see on the last picture - where is true Crocus pallasii from Crimea (Ukraine) - locus classicus of this species.

Friday, 25 October 2019 08:22

Still are blooming two species from Crocus speciosus group - Crocus ibrahimii (shown earlier) and Crocus sakariensis. Both are from low altitudes and it is quite common that plants from low altitudes even in cultivation blooms later than those from high altitudes same as in wild (of course - this rule is valid for autumn blooming crocuses).
On the first picture C. sakariensis, growing wild at altitudes around 300 m. It is something similar to C. xantholaimos from high altitudes in Central N Turkey. Both are easy separable by branching and position of style - in C. xantholaimos style is much less branched and hidden between anthers, in C. sakariensis - much more branched and positioned much higher. Both has yellow throat, in cultivated forms of xantholaimos much deeper yellow, although in wild are individuals with lighter throat, too.
Then Crocus thomasii seedling, unusually dark, and could be hybrid
And as last is the first albino between C. tournefortii seen by me. It was collected on Karpathos Island in spring 2017 when I searched  for C. ruksansii, but found only C. tournefortii (of course, without flowers).

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 06:04

According weather broadcast next week will start night frosts and dropping of temperature up to + 5 C during day. Crocus blooming is not more so abundant as before but a lot still even didn't started. Here and in next entry pictures from Sunday, when we had some sun and very warm day.
The first is quite unusual yellowish C. cartwrightianus from Naxos Island - it blooms extremely abundantly sending up one flower after another. Although pot was labelled as - poorly looking corm - it came up and I hope will alive.
Next is most unusual selection from Crocus goulimyi 'Agia Sophia' found by Melvin Jope, followed by bicoloured 'Harlequin' found in wild by John Fielding.
Then follow first blooming of seedling from Crocus hermoneus collected in Jordan
And as last in this entry Crocus pallasii aff. selection from Chios Island named 'Homeri' in Gothenburg BG.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 05:23

Only in 2015 I found Crocus serotinus in the wild and now it for the first time blooms with me. The reason of so late blooming after introduction was mistake in soil composition. Only last spring, revisiting locality, I found that soil where it grows in nature is very acid - my mini field laboratory showed pH around 5.0. Now it was planted in rhododendron mix and blooms for the first time.
White form of C. salzmannii was selected between my seedlings, the old albino which I got from Australia, turned virus infected and was destroyed.
Crocus kotschyanus from Gezbeli gec has the largest flowers between all my samples of C. kotschyanus.
Very large flowers has Crocus ligusticus from near Tavarone. I got it from Thomas.

Thursday, 17 October 2019 16:54

Up to last there were only two autumn blooming species in former Crocus biflorus group - Crocus nerimaniae and C. wattiorum. Both has very limited distribution area and belongs to the best crocuses. On the first 2 pictures are C. nerimaniae. It was very difficult to rise up its stock because in wild it almost 100% is virus infected and another problem is wild boars which eat their corms almost 100% not sorting - virus infected or not - at locus classicus. After 3 generations reproducing it from seeds and destroying all suspicious individuals, finally I think that I now have some stock of healthy plants, at least no one infected were observed this autumn and most likely I will offer this beauty for the first time.
Another is quite difficult in growing C. wattiorum. I lost all stock which I got from Erich Pasche, but stock from P&P Watt - gave good seed crop and now it again is well blooming with me. Both are plants from comparatively low altitudes.
Just recently the third autumn blooming species was found and described by Turkish botanist Osman Erol - Crocus terziogluii. It blooms in December and was found at S coast of Marmaris in Pinus forest. I haven't it and suppose that due low altitudes it could be something problematic, although related C. vaclavii growing in nature at sea coast, grows well with me. Closest relative of new species is C. babadagensis. Another relatives are C. biflorus from Italy and C. rhodensis from Rhodos Island - theu all blooms in spring.

The last picture is of Crocus vallicola from near Artvin pictured yesterday in greenhouse and showing great variability of throat colour. It blooms now in outside garden, too, but flowers not open so well, but it is very beautiful even in buds.


Thursday, 17 October 2019 16:36

Every day I'm taking off old flowers. It is very important to protect corms from rotting. Not so abundantly as before, but still a lot of nice blooms comes out. In this entry 2 samples of crocus mazziaricus/cancellatus s.l. - from Samos Island, Greece and from SW Turkey. After those 3 samples of Crocus cartwrightianus. Last 2 pictures shows C. speciosus - form which was white in the wild at Ijevan in Armenia, but here bloomed light bluish.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 16:46

Iranian Crocus hakkariensis yesterday was cleaned from last flowers, this picture is made few days ago.
I wrote in previous entry that leaf development this autumn is delayed in Crocus goulimyi, but the same is with Crocus hatayensis, too.
From C. speciosus group started blooming one of the latest - Crocus hellenicus from South population near Varnakovo
but one of the best "speciosus" is C. ibrahimii - quite variable - on this picture the very best form.
And the last is mine C. kofudagensis - note the white style splitting into 3 orange branches well over top of anthers.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 06:10

Several species already finished blooming but many send out new and new flowers and some even still didn't started blooming. Here some last flowers pictured few days ago.
The first pair is of Crocus dispathaceus from Icel and the 2nd - very unusual seedling - could be hybrid.
Crocus gilanicus flowers are very delicate, here last flowers from sample collected in Iran.
Pure white C. goulimyi individual collected not far from Monemvasia. Usually Crocus goulimyi has quite long leaves at blooming time, this autumn they started development much later than usually and it is easy to pick out died flowers - usually leaves bother this.
And as last in this entry - F-2 seedling from hybrid between C. hadriaticus and C. sativus cashmerianus - very spectacular.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 05:00
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