Bees Love Crocus, and so do I

When I was little there was a corner planted with crocus that I would pass on my way to school. In my mind the appearance of those bright yellow, purple, and white blooms marked the true beginning of spring. Since then I have always had a soft spot for crocus. (By the way, I checked and the plural of crocus is either crocus or croci, and croci sounds weird.)

2014-04-06 13.15.42 crocus and honeybees
Bees and a clump of tommy crocus. That one in the upper left has been captured in mid-flight.

Crocus have now joined snowdrops as the only blooms in my garden. Not all – just the ones in the warmest spots.  They are covered with bees, who are either very hungry and/or sick of a diet of nothing but snowdrops. Judy spent a bunch of time this morning photographing the bees on the crocus.

Tommy crocus and  bees
Tommy crocus and bees

These are tommy crocus (Crocus tommasinianus). Tommies have the advantage of being less delicious to rodents than other crocus. They have the disadvantage of a more limited color palette, coming pretty much only in purple or lilac.

Tommy crocus and bees
Tommy crocus and bees

I really like the picture above. See that bee flying near the center of the photo?

2014-04-06 13.18.02 tommy crocus and bees

OK, here’s just one more. This gives a really nice view of the stamen and pistils.

Clump of yellow crocus.
Clump of yellow crocus.

Here’s a clump of yellow spring crocus (Crocus chrysanthus). Unfortunately, crocus (except for the tommies) is like apple pie and ice cream to rabbits and squirrels. In my back garden they almost always get eaten before they bloom. However, I’ve noticed that the spring crocus I plant along the sidewalk remain unmolested. I’m guessing that the rabbits are too nervous to eat so close to the street and sidewalk.

White spring crocus.
White spring crocus.

Crocus can spread fairly quickly if the rodents don’t get at them. But sometimes squirrels dig up a crocus corm, replant it for later noshing, and then forget about it. That explains this lone white crocus. Give it a few years and it will make a nice clump.

Do you like crocus? Do you grow them in your garden?

56 Comments on “Bees Love Crocus, and so do I”

  1. I haven’t tried growing crocus. I was thinking of finding a space for Crocus sativus but now that I know squirrels eat them that would probably be a bad idea. (We have a lovely fox squirrel living here.)
    The bee pictures are nice action shots. The flowers exquisite: especially the white one.

  2. I do love crocus – such an exciting sight after months of winter grey (or white!). I have lots in my garden spreading/being spread by squirrels or mice. A splash of yellow is nice, but I think I like the purple ones best. They seem to last longer and spread better than all the others.

  3. Wonderful to see your crocus, some fantastic pics of bees here! Good that they have something to feast on. I have always loved crocus too, the only down side is that they won’t open on grey days and we have a lot of them.
    Our squirrels are forever digging ours up so we have lots of lone

  4. Great pics Jason! And yes I have them growing in the front but was a bit saddened to see some of mine munched before I could even enjoy them! And they were by the front walk!!! Though I do have others that I took some shots of! Yep thank the lord spring is at our door! Have a great week! And I love those bee shots! Nicole

  5. I love Crocus so much, we have a Crocus lawn so I can tip-toe between clumps of them and sit on a bench to watch the bumble bees lolling drunkenly in the flowers. They are over now, so it is lovely to see your Crocus tommasinianus busily being bee magnets.

  6. Ooops. I’ve been calling them Crocuses! How embarrassing. 😉 And, yes, I do enjoy them. Mine haven’t bloomed yet, but I only recently removed the thick layer of leaf mulch that was covering. I’m sure they’ll be blooming in this nice warm weather we’ll be having for the next few days. Great photos!

  7. Yes mam’ I like Crocus very much. Last year I put in dozens, this year a few remain. In the woodland restoration I’m working some showed up this year where there were none before. It’s like magic. The insects are finding all these spring blooms!
    Happy Gardening
    Teresa Marie

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