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Tecophilaea cyanocrocus ‘Chilean blue crocus’ provides a serious hit of blue.

Dugald Cameron

Why you should plant it

When planning for spring, consider the effect of a serious hit of blue in early spring amid all the usual whites and yellows. The cobalt hue of this Chilean blue crocus is as intense as you'll find in any plant – and you won't be seeing it in every yard. It's precious (therefore expensive) and, while it can be found covering alpine areas in Chile, the bulbs you'll find at most nurseries are raised by hand in Holland.

Where to plant it

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This is a bit tricky since excellent drainage is a basic need for alpine plants. They like a dry winter, so you might have to put glass or another protective cover over the planting area. In the summer, these Zone 5 blooms should bake in full sun along the edges of a driveway, in raised beds that can be controlled or in a container.

What it offers

Expect a spectacular display in early spring – and expect it to be a popular choice among bulb collectors and anyone else who longs for the rare and unusual in their garden.

Source and cost

Get Tecophilaea cyanocrocus for $12.95 per corm at any well-stocked nursery, including www.gardenimport.com.

For more plant and garden information, visit www.marjorieharris.com.

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