Pacific Northwest

September, 2010
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Fall-Blooming Saffron Crocus
I think fall-blooming saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) is eye-catching when scattered throughout my perennial garden. The small bulbs sport delightful lavender-to-purple blooms and the stiff, grass-like foliage accents the flowers, but it's the bright red stamens in the center of the flowers that really attracts my attention. These stamens are actually the same saffron that is used in the kitchen. You can collect the stamens and dry them, then use them in recipes to add color and flavor to food. I plant fall blooming crocus in drifts for a burst of color in my flower beds in early to mid-fall.

Clever Gardening Technique

Homemade Seed Desiccant
Packets of seeds can be saved for next year if they are stored properly. The secret is to keep the seeds cool and dry. You can make a desiccant to help keep seeds dry by placing powdered milk into a paper towel, twisting the ends together and fastening with a rubber band. Place a packet of powdered milk in your seed storage can or jar with the packets of seeds. Close the storage container tightly. Check the powdered milk sachet every few months and change it if it becomes damp.

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