Tag Archives: crocus

The First Crocus Emerges Alone: March 28 2014

 

Image

 

 

The Crocus emerges like whisper,

Barely heard through cold winds,

Lonely, yet lovely

The spathe slips forward

Stretching toward sunlight.

 

 

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Spring at Last: Stages of a Crocus

This diagram is from A Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum for Gardeners by E. A. Bowles Ma.A., F.L.S., F.r.E.S., V.M.H. published by The Garden Book Club, 121 Charing Cross Road, London WC2. in 1955. I found this on a wonderful British site: Ivy Dene Gardens.

“She opens the paper wrappings,
hands delicate as a crocus unfolding
in the morning light. Little hands working
to part the frail chapter of circumstance
where histories float like clouds on an untouchable scrim.”

From, The Vistor, by Anya Russian

Here are the stages of the Crocus, in pictures, taken from my own garden Spring 2011.

1. Leaves push up from the ground.

2. Spathe emerges. You can see the purple of the flower cocooned within. This is like the birthing phase and the spathe is like the womb. It almost looks alien.

3. Bloom pushes out of the spathe.

4. Bloom begins to unfold.

And unfold…

And unfold.

More crocus in The Garden:

Karin Gottshall from her book: Crocus

To read entire book, click on link above.

I was in bed all day with the sun

and a heavy dictionary.
I watched the cat fall asleep
on the wove rug. Outside

a bird unspooled its song in wide,
round loops: drifting off,
coming back. Memory is like that—

words loosed like dust motes,
a dream I slip into: this cat’s
green-eyed mother, her grave

under licorice root and money trees.
Then come the angels of the afternoon
with their wings of flame.

one day language will unbind itself
from me—even to the barest
particulars: the first time

I heard the word crocus, the new
spring sun on my shoulder, smell
of mud—quick freshet
working itself free. At last
to release this word I
into the long blue currents of the sea.

Crocus Stamen & Stigmata: Photos

After following the commandment yesterday to, “Consider the Lilies”, I became more interested in considering the crocus, too. Emily called them the “vassal of the snow,” but today they’ll be free to worship the sun.

This morning I went out to observe the tenderest portion of the crocus, its reproductive element, the flower. While snooping inside this tender spot–early spring homes for gnats and bees–I did spy a few of these little creatures at work and rest.

The crocus is different from the lily in that its stigma is divided into three at the tip of the style. The lily’s stigma is a tri-bulbous unit; the crocus’ stigma is a separated threesome we refer to in its plural form–stigmata (Stig-Muh-Tuh). The stamen (male portion of the flower) is also different. The lily has 6 stamen, while the crocus has but 3.

There is a fall flower that looks very much like the crocus and is mistaken for crocus called colchicum (Kohl-Chick-Um). It is actually part of the Lily family (Liliaceae) and has 6 stamen as well. If you ever wonder–crocus or colchicum–just count the stamen–three equals crocus, six equals colchicum.

Here are my pictures from the garden from this morning, a beautiful early spring day–temps climbing to 65. The focus is on the pistil (stigma, style and ovary–female parts) and the stamen (filament and anther–male parts).

Enjoy a walk through my garden’s tenderest and most private early April places as the crocus slowly open themselves up to the day’s sun.

“Crocuses come up, in the garden off the dining room.” Emily Dickinson quote from a letter.

The Snow Crocus

The difference a day makes, yesterday,
Orange stamen reaching to the sun, 
Petals stretched out, almost falling,
But now, dark clouds, the cold,
The snow, as white as you are—
You’ve pulled tight your coat
Shut yourself and your secret from the world.

Emily Dickinson’s Garden, April 4th Snow Crocus, 2012

I thought about form with this poem and how it could mirror the crocus in sun and snow. The crocus opens up in the sun (free form), then closes itself up in cold (poetic form, rhyme). I changed up the poem above to play with that idea.

The difference a day makes, yesterday,
Your orange stamen reached up to the sun,
Your silky petals strained and stretched
As soft and open as new skin
But now, dark clouds, the cold
Bold snow, as white as you are
It obscures the sun so completely
You’d swear there is no sun, or ever will be
You’ve shut yourself up for now
But I know how, you’ll open again.

The Snow Crocus, Emily Dickinson’s Garden, April 4th 2012

April Crocus

Image,

Ah, deeper down cold, dark, and chill 
We buried our heart’s flower, 
But angel-like shall he arise 
In spring’s immortal hour. 

In blue and yellow from its grave 
Springs up the crocus fair, 
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes, 
Those sunny waves of hair. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe, excerpt from The Crocus

Crocus from my garden, April 3rd 2012. Beautiful, sunny day.  Cool.

Paul J Stankard: Man Who Can Bring Us A Bouquet of Indian Pipes

INDIAN PIPES

White mystical totems
in moist shaded woods
offered fluid folk cures
to those who understood.

Saprophytic flowers, cluster,
nodding in light
feed off decay
develop upright.

Black-spotted pods
drying pastel brown
stand erect through winter
Nature’s totems in the ground.

-Paul J Stankard

I’ve written on this blog many times about the most magical of fairy flowers, the Indian Pipe, sometimes called, The Corpse Flower. It adorns the front cover of Emily Dickinson’s work, yet, so few people have ever seen it in real life. If you try to pick one and bring it back to the land of the living, away from the shade of the forest, it will start to turn inky black, erasing its waxy, white mystery. If you find a fellow traveler who has, by chance, come across it in their own journey, it’s like talking to someone who finally gets you…understands what you have seen….understands what you have felt. A soul-mate.

When I visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma last week, I would never have guessed my favorite exhibit would be paper weights.

Paper weights. Really?

Not the Glimmering Gone, the enchanted glass forest that inspired so many beautiful poems?

No, for me, it was the art of Paul J. Stankard, considered the Dale Chihuly of the glass paper weight, that most inspired and most intrigued.

As my friend and I wandered in and out of one exhibit and another, we found ourselves unwittingly part of a tour group who had just entered, “Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul J. Stankard.” As I gazed into the small round orbs, delighting in wildflowers and magical insects and elves, wholly brought forth from Stankard’s imagination and memories of his walks in nature, I also got to listen to the story of his life and art–his transition from industrial glass maker to artist working from his garage, his love of Walt Whitman and poetry, his love of nature, and his appreciation of transitions.

And, that is where Paul Stankard and I converged spirit to spirit, mind to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met or talked to him, but as the tour guide told us which piece, of all the beautiful pieces exhibited, was his favorite, and why, I couldn’t help but think I knew him. Kindred thoughts, make kindred minds.

His favorite piece was a melting ice cube: “Experimental Departure From Paperweight Form, 1979.” This is the piece where he challenged a traditional idea, drew from internal inspiration, and deviated from the standard, spherical form of paper weight. The tour guide quoted him, “The only real growth as human beings is when we think outside the box.” I would go further and say that when you’re growing it is the only time you feel like you’re really living–being 100 percent vital and authentic. The opposite of growth, in the world of flowers (and people), is decay, even if the decay seems to be put off for a while. It’s the difference between a cut flower and one still attached to its roots, like the flowers suspended in his paper weights.

Experimental Departure from Paperweight Form, was not, by any stretch, viewed by itself with no understanding of what it meant, his most beautiful work of art exhibited that day. Its beauty came from knowing that without it, none of the others would exist. It was the bridge between two levels of seeing and, a bridge between two worlds. The world of Paul Stankard is a world I have visited many times. When I looked through the first glass window I knew he was a visitor, too, come back to show the rest of the world the magic.

You see, in this exhibit, he, in a sense, defied nature. He brought back the flowers in their living form–no black ink, no decay–just vital, growing flowers suspended forever in a glass universe–inviting us to peer in and see, too.

“Did you ever know that a flower, once withered and freshened again, became an immortal flower,–that is, that it rises again?” (Emily L91)

One of my other favorite flowers and the one I’m most looking for now is the crocus. This is called Honeycomb and Crocuses.

Stages of a Crocus

This diagram is from A Handbook of Crocus and Colchicum for Gardeners by E. A. Bowles Ma.A., F.L.S., F.r.E.S., V.M.H. published by The Garden Book Club, 121 Charing Cross Road, London WC2. in 1955. I found this on a wonderful British site: Ivy Dene Gardens.

“She opens the paper wrappings,
hands delicate as a crocus unfolding
in the morning light. Little hands working
to part the frail chapter of circumstance
where histories float like clouds on an untouchable scrim.”

From, The Vistor, by Anya Russian

Here are the stages of the Crocus, in pictures, taken from my own garden Spring 2011.

1. Leaves push up from the ground.

2. Spathe emerges. You can see the purple of the flower cocooned within. This is like the birthing phase and the spathe is like the womb. It almost looks alien.

3. Bloom pushes out of the spathe.

4. Bloom begins to unfold.

And unfold…

And unfold.

More crocus in The Garden:

Karin Gottshall from her book: Crocus

To read entire book, click on link above.

I was in bed all day with the sun

and a heavy dictionary.
I watched the cat fall asleep
on the wove rug. Outside

a bird unspooled its song in wide,
round loops: drifting off,
coming back. Memory is like that—

words loosed like dust motes,
a dream I slip into: this cat’s
green-eyed mother, her grave

under licorice root and money trees.
Then come the angels of the afternoon
with their wings of flame.

one day language will unbind itself
from me—even to the barest
particulars: the first time

I heard the word crocus, the new
spring sun on my shoulder, smell
of mud—quick freshet
working itself free. At last
to release this word I
into the long blue currents of the sea.