Holder: Mr Tony Goode
Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to western China. There are 79 species further divided into 127 taxa when subspecies are included.
The flowering season extends from late summer (August in UK) through the winter until mid spring (March UK). The National Collection is maintained in cold frames around small suburban garden. Dwarf bulb collection also grown.
Tony Goode was first drawn to crocuses as a child by the jewel-like flowers which appear so suddenly at winters end. His Collection shows the amazing wealth of variation provided in the flowers over a period of almost 9 months in cultivation and year round in the wild. Beginning in a city centre flat, he kept potted bulbs at a nearby allotment and rotated the pots when in flower into window boxes. This was where the crocus collection was born. In 1992 the number of pots expanded, David Stephens, was looking for someone to manage the ‘overflow’ from his Plant Heritage collection and the collection was further enhanced when the third NCH, Ray Cobb, relinquished the bulk of his plants.
The collection receives very few visitors. This is for the best as the flowers do not generally all come at once, although the cold winter of 2012/13 did lead to an explosion of flowers when spring finally arrived. Also, sunshine is an absolute must for a visit to be worthwhile and this cannot be ordered in advance! The number of accessions may have fallen but plenty of new additions accrue, largely raised from seed which takes three to five years to reach flowering. A great deal of information is available on Tony's Crocus Pages web site.
Opening Times By appointment: September - March, entry free.
3 Woodland Road Hellesdon
Norwich NR6 5RA
Telephone: 01603 409074
Directions On application.
Joint holder: Judy Watson of Seamere
Also in transition to new joint holders: Mr and Mrs Brewster of Horning Hall
The genus is the only member of the family Gunneraceae and is native to South America, the Neotropics and Hawaii, several small species are found in New Zealand. The species is named for a Swedish born botanist, Bishop Johann Ernst Gunnerus (1718 -1773) who was a correspondent of Carl Linnaeus and author of Flora Norvegica (1766).
The species ranges from the truly miniscule with leaves 1 to 2 cms long to those which you can easily walk under with a leaf spread of over 1.5 m. One of the smallest is the delightful bronze leaved Gunnera hamiltonii which exists in only five natural populations and is one of the rarest plants in its native New Zealand. There is a gunnera for most gardens as long as they can be given some moisture.
Holder: Mr Alan Gray
Colchicums are perennials containing around 160 species which grow from bulb-like corms usually with coarse, broadly strap-shaped leaves which appear with or after the goblet-shaped flowers. The common names 'autumn crocus', 'meadow saffron' and 'naked lady' may be applied to the whole genus or to many of its species; they refer to the 'naked' crocus-like flowers which appear in late summer or autumn, long before the strap-like foliage which appears in spring. The collection consists of hardy garden colchicums from a wide range of historic and new sources. The collection is planted in the east park. There are also groups around the garden.
Best time to view: Mid Sep-end Oct
Opening Times: 3 Mar-27 Oct, Wed-Sun, 12pm-5.30pm
East Ruston Old Vicarage
Norfolk NR12 9HN
Telephone: 01692 650432
Directions: Situated off the A149 near Stalham.