by Dr. Janis Ruksans & Liga Popova


One of the most gracious species from Crocus speciosus group is C. brachyphilus. I even named it as C. speciosus subsp. elegans, but later it was raised to species level and name changed (not by me).
Crocus cambessedesii seem to be the autumn crocus with smallest flowers. It was not good grower last season, but some corms bloomed regardless of very small size.
And last two pictures shows very gracious crocus from cancellatus group, according number collected somewhere near Gulnar in S Turkey, but there is some fault with number and I must to search in elder planting books when this mistake happened to be sure about origin. This season anthers are not developed.

Monday, 14 October 2019 17:54

I had very bad crop of C. banaticus this season. Corms were small and poorly looking and I expected no one flower and was very surprised when two pots suddenly were covered with flowers. Here picture from sample collected in forest near Mukachevo, W Ukraine.
Next 3 pictures are of Crocus bolensis - first two from locus classicus (the second is almost albino) and the third from Kuyucak Yaila.
The last is Crocus boryi from Greece.

Sunday, 13 October 2019 15:33

Just a week ago I finished replanting of my bulbs and yesterday finished registering of all ssamples grown by me. This year I didn't include my own selections from wild stocks and they appear only under original gathering number, so total number of grown samples decrreased and now is equal to "only" 4508 samples, from those crocuses are represrented by 1586 samples. Now I have some time to work with pictures and in this entry different stocks of Iranian Crocus archibaldiorum from various localities.

Sunday, 13 October 2019 12:27

In greenhouse almost finished but in garden now at top is occasional hybrid selected by me from open pollinated seeds of Crocus ilgazensis. The pollen parent almost certainly was C. pulchellus. Extremely floriferous and vigorous hybrid. I named it 'Fantasy' but not long ago some spring blooming cultivar in Holland was named as 'Fantasy' too, so I renamed mine as 'Autumn Fantasy'.

Thursday, 03 October 2019 05:32

Nicely blooms Crocus nerimaniae and C. wattiorum. Each flower was carefully hand pollinated. After 3 generations I successfully rised virus free C. nerimaniae - almost 100% virus infected in the wild + population almost destroyed by wild boars.
And another almost certainly new species from cancellatus group from near Gulnar in S Turkey - so delicate sand small - only around half of traditional cancellatus size, and very uniform.

Thursday, 03 October 2019 05:31

A lot of crocuses are blooming and every day pictured, but preparing pictures for Forum takes time so only few I can prepare every day.
Now in this entry 4 different seedlings of Crocus cartwrightianus cv. 'Purple Eye'
and possibly new (?) species from speciosus group, but at present regarded as C. armeniensis from Vahagni. I wanted to research it together with Zhirair this autumn, but barbaric killing of him cancelled all travel plans...

Thursday, 03 October 2019 05:29

Now goes planting of some tulips from biflora/bifloriformis/turkestanica alliance and will follow crocus seedlings.

On another 2 pictures - crocus hybrid 'Autumn Fantasy' raised by me - planted in the garden.

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 08:53

Repotting finished! Still left to plant some seedlings and other bulbs which had no place in greenhouse for pots.
But crocuses still are blooming.
Here white Crocus pamphylicus grown from seeds collected near Fersin, S Turkey
and 2 pictures of seedling from Crocus dispathaceus from Icel. May be hybrid, but one of best this autumn.

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 05:12

Two days ago finished repotting of my collection and yesterday all the day passed watering around 9000 pots in the greenhouse where in full bloom are autumn crocuses, sternbergias (on picture S, greuteriana from Crete) and "sexy" looking Biarum carduchorum from Turkey.

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 04:23

Vēl viens neparasts Irānas krokuss no C. speciosus grupas (pagaidām vēl bez vārda). Tas aug Irānas ziemeļrietumos, augstkalnu pļavās (ap 2300m) un veido sāņus augošus stolonus. Attēlā redzams mātes buimbuļsīpols, stolons ar jaunā bumbuļsīpola aizmetni un ar iedziļinošo (kontraktīlo) sakni pašā galā. Ziedlapas ir neparasti platas un noapaļotas, kas nav raksturīgi šai grupai.

Another very interesting speciosus group crocus from very high altitude in NW Iran where it is growing side by side with Crocus gilanicus in deep turf sand is forming long side growing stolones. On attached picture you can see mother corm - stolone with new cormlet at top and contractile root at very end. The flower segments are unusually wide and rounded for C. speciosus group.

Monday, 23 September 2019 18:04

Nicely started blooming different forms of crocuses from C. speciosus group. Some from Iran collected during last years brings pleasant surprises. Here are 3 pictures of Crocus zubovii from very top of Olang pass - pale form and very uniform. It is the first blooming with me.

Monday, 23 September 2019 17:23

Crocus vallicola from NW Caucasus (sample 322) and very special, distinctly stoloniferous Crocus "speciosus" from NW Iran where it is growing side by side with C. gilanicus.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 10:43

Marvellously blooms hybrid between Crocus ilgazensis and C. pulchellus (made by bees and grown up from C. ilgazensis seeds). I named it FANTASY, because parentage, although clearly visible on flowers, are not 100% certain.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 05:23

Yesterday I was visited by Alex Harvey, son of famous Australian nurseryman Marcus Harvey, who died from cancer at 64. He was great friend of me and great lower of crocuses. He found new crocus on Ikaria Island and send its seeds to me under label - Crocus nubigena. When it flowered with me for the first time, I immediately saw that it is new species and I wrote to Eric Pasche about it. As Marcus just recently died, I proposed for Eric to name it after discoverer of this species as Crocus harveyi, but getting no reply from him (our interrelations cooled after publishing my book and some critics to his research partner Helmut Kerndorff), I described it by myself and it was published as Crocus harveyi in International Rock Gardener (#90, June 2017). Now in greenhouse is blooming culmination of Crocus speciosus, Crocus turcicus and Crocus salzmannii. On attached pictures I together with Alex Harvey, Crocus harveyi and now blooming part of C. speciosus collection.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 05:05

More and more cocuses start blooming. Weather is too hot and flowers didn't last long. Here some pictures from this morning:
Crocus archibaldiorum - originally collected by HKEP
Still is blooming Crocus scharojanii flavus
Very excellent is crocus from Crocus cancellatus group - sample RUDA-061
The first vallicolas come out, Turkish this autumn at moment are slightly creamy toned, but those from NW Caucasus (Russia) are brightest white
But I'm not growing only crocuses - here some of another crop - cultivar 'Sugar Giant' - not the largest fruit (the largest was around 1.5 times larger)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 09:21

Horrible news. I was planning trip to Armenia this autumn to visit Zhirair who promised for me white reticulate iris and virus-free clone of crocus Carpathian Wonder - both grown by him. I sent him many crocuses this autumn and he was very happy for them, but suddenly stopped to reply to my mails and telephone calls.
Just got mail from Dima that Zhirair's wife Alla informed him that Zhirair was killed in his summer-house garden and burnt there. He was so friendly to everyone, peaceful, quiet man and so diligent gardener. I'm so shocked, that can't even write this information. Oh this horrible world. He was not a rich man, why, why, why... is the question. I was many times with him, he accompanied me in any travel there, his nice son, beautiful wife. My heart is broken.

Sunday, 08 September 2019 17:43

Many thanks to everyone who sent me greetings for my birthday! My best present today gave me Crocus scharojani flavus flowerbuds of which just today popped out of ground. From others - nicely blooms Crocus puringii - this year started just after C. ilgazensis which bloomed already before potting. From colchicums my favourites this autumn are C. sanguicolle and C. macrophyllum. Of course some of suworovianus, the first flower of cappadocicus are already blooming and today I maid even the first herbarium sheet of very interesting Greek Crocus cancellatus group representative from E Aegean Islands.

Crocus repotting was finished 31st of August, last two days repotted all Fritillaria pots and today harvested desert Corydalis and started harvesting of juno irises. All still without roots. It is unusually late for me, but I became much slower.

Thursday, 05 September 2019 17:53

Harvesting, harvesting and harvesting + repotting. Every day from early morning till late evening.
Crop in general good, but I couldn't found positive effects of deeper planting. In some pot deep planted corms grow better, in others not so. Positive effect was with Crocus pulchellus - its corms reached incredible size if planted around 12-15 cm deep, but not always. Really there are more minuses than pluses. At first - practically impossible to take out some wrong plant - they are too deep and more often shoot brokes during attempt to take it out. May be moisture level deep in pot is more even, but sometimes it is too wet even at harvesting time (I'm using plastic pots) and some mould appear at corms bottom between old and new corm. So I returned to my traditional planting depth with very few exceptions - flavus, mouradi, antalyensis, antalyensioides grew far better if planted deep.

Last two days I harvested seedling pots - in general all sawn in 2014, but eldest was from 2008. Usually I'm keeping seedlings in original pot up to first flower and then harvest them. Corydalis erdelii sawn in 2008 bloomed for the first time this spring, but there were plenty of 1-2 year old seedlings, too. So many seeds germinated 10-11 years after sawing.

Seedlings nicely show additional differences between otherwise similar species. Crocus pallasii dry leaves are very easily to pluck off (this species has short neck), but by flower very similar C. macedonicus when you try to pluck its leaves comes out together with young corm and you must use scissors. Crocus "pallasii" from Chios Island is intermediate between both.

Thursday, 01 August 2019 18:37

Now I'm harvesting species of Crocus speciosus group. Still left all Iranians and type true speciosus. Some already made long shoots and the longest has C. ilgazensis, long shoots has Crocus puringii from Crimea (it already started development of roots, regardless of dust dry soil in pots) and very long shoots has sample from S Turkey LST-420A.
On the last picture are two types of crocus cormlets. It is Crocus brachyphilus (published by me as C. elegans, but nomenclature code...) - on left are grain like cormlets formed on stolones, on right side round cormlets at base of new corm. Both types on same species.
Interesting were observations on Crocus hellenicus populations. The Northern form (type locality of C. hellenicus at Vikos Canyon) is very stoloniferous, but forming few basal cormlets, too. The sample from South near Varnakovo makes no stolones and forms only few basal cormlets. I'm strongly thinking that both could be different taxa, but there must be done DNA checking.
Quite different are crocus seeds - speciosus sensu lato from Balcans and N Turkey has very small seeds, but those from N coast of Black Sea as well as from S Turkey - twice as large, but there still I need data from longer period, may be it is only seasonal.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019 18:30

I'm repotting crocuses. At this moment around 25-30% are already repotted. Yesterday worked with veluchensis - all of them already had new roots formed. Some hybrids between veluchensis s.l. and cvijicii had long roots, too. Crop of both species (and of abantensis) was far better than last year - all of them were placed outside of greenhouse early spring as weather conditions allowed. I prepared specieal place covered with geotextile covered with 5 cm layer of coarse sand (!) - very essential to drain excessive moisture from pots. C. pelistericus, scardicus still are with green leaves. But in the same time noted first flowers of colchicums between old dried yellow leaves. The first runners are Colchicum parnassicum (lilac) and C. paschei (white).

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 04:26

Started harvesting of crocuses. Here you can see how different are Crocus species by corm size - on left Iranian Crocus haussknechtii (corm diameter 45 mm), the same corm size has on left position C. hatayensis from Turkey (both autumn bloomers), but in middle average (blooming) size of spring flowering Crocus gargaricus (diameter 10 mm, but occasionaly can reach even 15 mm).

Sunday, 09 June 2019 04:02
Viens no maniem labākajiem narcišu hibrīdiem - 'Brīvības Zvaigznes' ('Freedom Stars') - par godu Brīvības piemineklim.
One of my best daffodil hybrids - 'Freedom Stars' - named after Monument for Freedom in centre of Latvian capital Riga on top of which are three stars.
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 18:03

In greenhouse blooms my last selections of tulips - all of them created around 40 years ago, when I intensively hybridized tulip species from Central Asia. The first two pictures are hybrid between T. vvedenskeyi and T. greigii named 'Sparkling Light', then selection from wild T. greigii 'Love Desire' and last two again hybrid between T. vvedenskeyi and T. greigii named 'Amberland'.

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 06:29

Today in grass found selfsawn seedling of Corydalis solida - so nice that was cerefully digged out and potted.

In greenhouse strted blooming of Anemone ranunculoides cultivars - here double 'Tiiu',

Comes out first flowers of Oxalis - this O. adenophylla form comes from Argentina.

Friday, 19 April 2019 17:53

Now is culmination of juno irises. Pity, that during replacing of nursery I lost many Juno irises. but some nice and even some rare left.
On the first picture - Iris capnoides,
then 2 forms of I. orchioides and
the last - Iris warleyensis.

Thursday, 18 April 2019 05:56
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