Why you should plant it
You get an almost instant pleasure from autumn crocuses, which are available to plant now - you simply pop them into the ground and they'll bloom in a few weeks, providing a welcome blast of colour when everything else is fading or about to become aflame.
Where to plant it
Once the bloom has faded, you tend to forget where you've planted crocuses, so choose an obvious spot in full sun to part shade, giving them enough space to spread out. This ground-covering bulb (actually called a corm) is poisonous, as is every part of the plant, which is why it's used in homeopathic remedies for gout. So keep children away from it. Water deeply and then wait a few weeks for the five-centimetre flowers to emerge.
What it offers
Powerful and surefire carpets of colour, from white to mauve, soft pink to brilliant blue. For a small amount of money, you can have spring in September, an underplanting for shrubs that provides an intensity you won't see again until the new year.
Gardenimport.com has a great collection ranging in price from 10 for $9.95 to $9.95 apiece.
Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more gardening and plant information.