The snow crocus season has begun. Though often listed as "early" spring
bloomers, many are actually late winter bloomers. The first one in full
flower began earlier this month, C. korolowii "Kiss of Spring." In past
years it bloomed in February, but it's an alpine crocus, & I think being
buried under snow for four days actually hurried it up. Also this week in
full fat bud are C. chrysanthus "Gypsy Girl" & C. ancyrensis "Golden
These first ones are all bright yellows -- an odd coincidence that yellows
arrive ahead of all the other colors, but perhaps no coincidence, as there
is a Demeter legend of her finding yellow crocuses blooming and she
stormed violently, "Who dares flower when I said none may do so until my
daughter is restored to me!" The snakey yellow heads of crocus buds shook
with fear of the Great Mother, & made the excuse for themselves: "But the
Maid is coming now!" and up arose Persephone amidst the the circle of
yellow crocuses. So she was kidnapped while collecting saffron from
red-anthered purple autumn crocus, and returned with the yellow crocus as
first heralds of spring. Then Demeter put on a cloak of white crocuses to
greet her daughter, which must've been intended to inspire an image of the
Mother as snow-covered mountain.
Sometimes the crocuses are so exciting I get heart palpitations; maybe
I'll have a heart attack & keel over dead in drift of crocuses someday, a
few decades later than now with any luck.
It's been very overcast all this month, though, so the buds get big &
fat & ready to open, but stay closed & snake-headed, opening only on the
sunniest days, then re-closing again on overcast days to follow. I've one
true winter crocus called "Fontenayi" which blooms mid-winter (after the
autumn crocuses & before the snow crocuses). Because of so many overcast
days the blooms on that were almost never open. Not opening, they were not
easily pollinated, & that meant they lasted longer than ever, even if as
bud-like closed flowers. I saw that there is still one of those light
lavender flowers remaining this morning, & there were many of them still
looking like closed buds a week ago; I don't think they ever lasted into
From now through April there'll be different sorts of crocus blooms
bursting out all over. Very exciting.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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