Fall Crocus

Garden Clock

By Pauline Keegan

I see purple crocus-like flowers in a few yards near my home. Doesn’t crocus bloom in the spring?

There is a crocus that blooms in the fall. It is related to the one that blooms in the spring. Fall blooming crocus is crocus sativus. It is the crocus that produces saffron, the most expensive spice in the grocery store. The orange-red stigma is the part used as a spice but, it takes several thousand stigmas to make a pound of saffron. If you don’t care for saffron, you can plant the bulbs for their lovely color since there isn’t much color at this time of the year.

I am having trouble choosing a grass for a lawn. Can you give me the options?

The major divisions of grass for Northwest Arkansas are Bermuda grass and fescue. Bermuda is a warm season grass. It turns green around April or May and dies out in October. It’s best in full sun. It is invasive, this matters if you have flower beds.

Fescue is a cool season grass. It greens up in March and unless it is watered, it goes dormant in mid-summer and returns to green in September and lasts until a hard frost.

Northwest Arkansas is what is called a traditional zone. This means that summer in Arkansas is too hot for cool season grasses to perform well and winters are often cold enough to injure or kill warm season grasses. The Extension Office of Washington County has much more information on choosing and maintaining a lawn. It is free for the asking.

How can I get rid of moss in my lawn?

Moss is a sign of several things: compacted soil, low pH, shade. You can try to eliminate the moss, but it will return unless you can make a drastic change in the mossy area. Your final options are to plant a ground cover or cultivate a moss lawn.

Is it too late to plant lilies?

Lilies should be planted when the ground has cooled off. Now and until a hard freeze is about right. Lilies should be planted 4 to 6 inches below the soil surface. If you are planting the Asiatic type, they should be planted 8 inches below the soil surface. As an extra protection  they will fare better under a protective layer of winter mulch.

Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72704 or call 444-1755.

Categories: Commentary