We love bright colours in the garden in early spring. After so long looking at the browns and greys of old growth from the previous year, it is good to cut it all down and start again. In the sun, we can plant crocus with white, cream, yellow, orange, mauve or purple flowers. On a sunny day, when they open their blooms fully. we can fully enjoy the new season, but in cloudy weather, they remain shut and sulk. If we want a small, reliable bulb, with brightly coloured flowers for a shady corner, then we need look no further than corydalis solida.
These woodlanders originate from much of central and Eastern Europe, extending into Russia too. The type has a muddy pink flower, but many different colour forms have been selected and named, so a bright splash of different hues can be planted. At their best in March and April, they have disappeared by June, but the ferny foliage is not unsightly as it dies down (unlike many other bulbs).
C. s. ‘Beth Evans’ is a strong pink, and the first to flower for me. This is sometimes propagated from seedlings which may have an inferior colour, so it is best to buy them in flower if possible or buy them from a reputable source.
C. s. ‘George Baker’ is a good red
While C. s. ‘Almandine’ is a deep purple
I must get a white one to add to the collection. Another New Year’s resolution?