Posts Tagged ‘Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’’

Autumn colour

October 19, 2009

There has been much mention on today’s news about autumn colour – specifically, leaf colour. That may take a week or so to develop fully (though the display is fleeting), but meanwhile we have the daisies to enjoy – asters, rudbeckias and the like.

Yellow daisies at Lamport Hall

Yellow daisies at Lamport Hall

They are good if you have space to plant them in bold drifts, as here at Lamport, where they are backed by the leaves of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and flanked to the right with Acanthus spinosus. There are some feathery grasses beyond – Miscanthus, I think.

This sort of planting is low maintance – the plants are close enough together to cover the ground and effectively block out any weeds. But I do think a large canvas is essential.

Dividing crocosmias

October 1, 2009

I said in my September newsletter that I’d be giving more details of how to divide crocosmias.

I see that I actually did this in December last year, so you have plenty of time – but I would definitely do it before the foliage dies down completely (it is still probably green but will turn brown shortly). If your soil is heavy, as mine is, I think I’d do the job during dry weather, when it’s easier to brush the soil off the corms – otherwise it’s a matter of holding them under a running tap, a messy business.

Dig up the clump and clean off the soil from around the corms. Discard any you’ve skewered on the tines of your fork (no great loss – there should be plenty of replacements, if the clump is congested). Theoretically, you should be able to separate the clump into individual corms, but I have never found the job that simple. Prise them apart with the point of a sharp knife (again, discard any that you skewer). Replant the corms well spaced out.

It may be a year or two before the smaller corms have grown to flowering size – but if you grow Lucifer (as I recommend), at least you will have those exotic-looking pleated leaves to look forward to next spring.

It's always easier to divide crocosmias in leaf - you can see what you're doing

It's always easier to divide crocosmias in leaf - you can see what you're doing

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

August 6, 2009

I mentioned Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in my August newsletter, happily flowering in my garden despite the wet weather.

The late Alan Bloom, who introduced the plant into the UK, rated it as the best – and who could argue with that? Certainly, it’s a superb plant, with arching stems that produce tapering clusters of orange-red flowers among sheaves of pleated leaves. The flowers at the base open first, as you can see in the picture – I’m not sure that the ones at the tip ever do.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Apparently, they are recommended for cutting, though I think the flowers wouldn’t last long in water – the point is to wait for the seed heads (which are attractive) to form, then use these. Incidentally, the plant can’t be grown from seed, so unless you are planning to do some flower arranging – something I never do – cut the stems back after flowering.

While bold clumps are the ideal, the underground corms quickly become congested and can fail to flower (as with daffodils). They need dividing regularly – I’ll post details of how to do this in the autumn.