Best of the bunch
Crocus These miniature cormous perennials appear in late winter and early spring, brightening the scene with their gobletshaped flowers, in shades ranging from deep purple to white. C. tommasinianus, the earliest to bloom, may look fragile but are pretty robust, selfseeding everywhere in full sun and reappearing year after year in ever-increasing clumps. They have slender, grass-like foliage and purple or lilac flowers with gold centres. Good varieties include ‘Albus’, which is white and ‘Ruby Giant’, which bears reddish purple flowers and doesn’t self seed. Large-flowered hybrids such as ‘Ard Schenk’ and ‘Blue Pearl’ are good for naturalising or growing in irregular drifts.