Monday, November 7, 2011

Saffron from the yard!

      I have my own saffron!!!   Saffron crocus is a fall blooming crocus that is hardy here (zones 10-6).  The saffron is the red threads you can see on the lower petal.  The leaves are almost like grass they are so thin. I planted them all over the yard in a variety of soils and exposures.  They are, of course, doing best in the richest soil with the most sunlight, but they are producing even in the worst clay.... slowly.  They are even doing well in a medium size pot.

      Here's the clip from  Odyssey Bulbs, recommended to me by Mike Gibson at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. 
Crocus sativus ~ The beautiful pale lilac-purple flowers of this long-cultivated species are prized for their toothsome stigmas and styles (although keep in mind that it takes the dried styles of more than 4,000 flowers to produce 1 ounce of seasoning). But it is equally valuable (although perhaps not in the literal sense) as an ornamental plant. A natural for the herb or kitchen garden, it requires rich, well-drained soil, periodic division, and deep planting to do its best. Mediterranean. Zone 5.
   Can't wait to try it in my mother's family recipes!  I already have more than I got in the bottle at Publix, and they are just starting to bloom.  Here's hoping they are as flavorful as they are pretty!  They smell wonderful as they are pulled ready for drying.

They are dainty, and those in the richest soil are blooming several times.  I'm going to leave some out this winter well mulched to see if they will survive.  I'll dig up the ones in the poorest soil before a really bad freeze and give them a better home next year. 

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