Nature Insight: Crocus at Last (and Forever)

Colchium Autumnale

There is a memory here, planted moments before it was too late.

It’s not what it seems. These are not the spring variety, waking from frigid dreams, wooed by what is to come, green showing warily yet buds often opening too soon.

These are not flowers fraught with anticipation. They’ve already been revealed, lost their clothes in the crowd, withdrawn to regrow and regroup before winter. These latent lilies are a law unto themselves, having done it all before, bending this way and that, exploding unashamed into sunshine and tears, inviting their withering surroundings to dance before the mystery of dying.

For here is immortality.  Everywhere.  And so the generous age offered a handful of corms for drilling into years she might or might not have ahead, too deep to be forgotten.  

Writing note: The autumn crocus actually isn’t a crocus—it’s in the lily family (crocuses are in the iris family), flowering in the fall. Autumn crocuses send up their leaves in the spring but they die back by summer, the flower stalks rising and blooming quite indecently in fall. Some common names are: naked ladies and mysteria. Mine were given me many years ago by an older neighbor friend of my mom’s, Sue Drilling, a farmer’s wife, who was fiercely independent as well as extremely intelligent and artistic, living alone into her 80’s (no one knows for sure, as she would never tell her age…) in a large Frank Lloyd Wright style house where she had a very wild but wonderful perennial garden. The new owners have since dug it all up and replaced it too neatly with shrubs and lawns, less to care for and enjoy.

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.


10 thoughts on “Nature Insight: Crocus at Last (and Forever)

  1. Lovely words and lovely artwork.
    We have the Spring crocuses mainly, and I love it when they – and Snowdrops too – start showing their little faces for the first time each season. I’ll have to look out for the Lily family type crocus.


    • Thank you, Val!

      Yes, although our spring bulb season starts later here than when I was in England, there is still nothing like those first bulbs appearing. I have some snowdrops (one of my favorites) planted under an sissel oak behind my house…and they poke up through the snow if they have to, as early as mid-February.

      Hope you can find the Autumn Crocus corms to plant…they have a very fairy-like quality to them…


  2. I enjoyed your writing note almost as much as your post!

    I felt the irresistible comparison between the crocus and a person – perhaps Sue Drilling herself (‘drilling into the years’), and certainly between the crocus and the reader; I’ve read the first line over and over. I can relate to that so much, and it’s so delicately and beautifully expressed, as are lines such as ‘waking from frigid dreams’ and ‘inviting their withering surroundings to dance before the mystery of dying’. All just lovely and full of meaning. (I tweeted it.) Brilliant illustration as ever.


    • I wondered if I should further “explain” the piece…but I thought the information about the autumn crocus would be interesting to others–as well as “putting an identity” to the giver of the corms and memory that is stirred for me every year when these gutsy little blooms appear overnight!. Even as I look for them I’m always surprised by their appearance.

      Thank you for reading, kindly and perceptively commenting, and tweeting my post once again. I’m sure doing so is bringing more wonderful bloggers to my site. I’m also tweeting your posts now. Blessings!


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