05 December 2010


In May I went to the salon des roses in a nearby wine chateau and I met a saffron (Crocus sativus) grower.

Entranced by the idea of growing my own saffron I bought ten bulbs which I duly planted on 15 August. The leaflet that came with the fat, healthy bulbs said that they would flower over a two week period around the end of October.

By early November we had had very little rain and I kept looking to see if there was any evidence of growth. Sure enough, there were at least ten spiky leaves but no sign of any flowers. Then it rained and within a few days the familiar lilac crocus shape emerged.

Every time I walked past them I checked on their progress – the growers explained that the flower lasts a mere 24 hours and they are up at 04:00 in the morning to pick their precious crop. As it was, my flowers lasted two to three days and because there were so few of them I was able to pick the three red stigmata from each, leaving a rather unseasonally pretty patch of spring-like flowers.

As I write this, there is a very late bloomer, which I will denude before it is dashed to the ground by all the rain. In all, from the ten bulbs I have had 16 flowers. I am planning something special for my 48 strands !
Here is a directory of saffron growers in France.


Esther Montgomery said...

What could you cook that would be worth the effort of harvesting?


P.S. How are you doing?

bare-faced gardener said...

I’ve saved up the few strands to make some exotic pudding. They’re in an old plast film container – it smells wonderful !

It’s not the quantity – it’s the quality … & the fun :)

Doing OK, soon to be very OK (hopefully).

What about you ?

I think of you every time I go round the back of the house & see the buxus growing … x

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