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 have a couple of clumps of Crocus. They are both near the street, so nothing has ever eaten them.

  3. 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.

  4. One of my favourite spring flowers and grow tommasinianus crocus in a mass across the front lawn which abuts the small lane we live in (no footpaths here), I hope they are enjoyed by bees and passers by alike.

  5. Those bees look happy at the buffet. Like you, I have a soft spot for crocus left over from my childhood. They do OK here (not as well as up north) if I remember to spray them with some noxious smelling potion or sprinkle them with hot pepper. If not, they are quickly beheaded by evil rodents.

  6. I have a lot of crocus, and buy more each year. This autumn I will buy the tommasianus and put them among the fruit trees.

  7. Lovely crocus shots. Crocus tommasinianus is a joy and spreads so delightfully that if it wasn’t so beautiful you’d consider it a nuisance. But it is always welcome. Great to see the bees too.

  8. 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

  9. Yes, I do like crocus but find they don’t flower for very long. I don’t have any tommies and I intend planting some this autumn (hush my mouth – who wants to think about autumn now.

  10. 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

  11. I like them but for some reason I’ve never planted any in my own yard. I do have scilla that are up, but they aren’t showing any color yet.
    I know someone who actually uses the word croci and I agree that it doesn’t sound right.

  12. It’s exciting to see the bees out. I haven’t grown crocus in a lot of years (guess the squirrels got them) but would like to try C. tommasinianus. susie

  13. You are right, croci is a weird word. I prefer crocus. They are really pretty. I don’t grow any but every time I come to your blog I regret not planting bulbs.

  14. I love your croci, and yes it does sound weird. Such a lovely shade of purple and great shots too.

  15. 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.

  16. …and I love them too! I have lots and lots as well but sadly C. sieberi Firefly & Co. didn’t like it in the grass but the rest multiplies happily.

  17. I grow crocus (specifically tommies), but have to grow them in pots to keep the voles at bay. Great bee pictures!

  18. Your crocus are beautiful. Ours are STILL under snow. Even for here, it is most unusual to have so much snow left in early April. However, I can see some bulb irises coming up so there is hope.

  19. 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!

  20. 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

  21. No doubt. Still too early here for crocus, but it does provide for the native bees which are early foragers and fly in colder weather than the honeybees. I am surprised your crocus are blooming now since your weather is usually right on schedule with what we have here.

  22. I love crocus but so do the voles so I am not adding anymore…but the bees love the iris reticulata and the Puschkinia so i am happy as the voles don’t like them.

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