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Monday, March 30, 2009

A Crocus Chorus

Another sign that spring has finally sprung here in New England are the appearances of Crocus flowers.

Prized by gardeners as one of the earliest bloomers, these easily propagated plants multiply year-after-year by spreading their stems (also known as corms) that grow underground.

The late winter/early spring variety of crocus is known as Crocus vernus subsp. vernus and like all crocuses is a member of the iris family - Iridaceae.

Once the initial bulbs are planted in the fall (about 2 - 4 inches deep and 2 - 4 inches apart), they return each year, spreading and naturalizing their colors.

There are approximately 80 species of crocus but only 30 are actually cultivated.

The flowers range in varying hues of purple, lavender, mauve, yellow and white and are either solid in color or gently striped with contrasting veins.

After they push their way through the thawing earth, they patiently wait for the first sunny day to share their brief splendor.

First Crocus
by Christine Klocek-Lim

This morning, flowers cracked open
the earth’s brown shell. Spring
leaves spilled everywhere
though winter’s stern hand
could come down again at any moment
to break the delicate yolk
of a new bloom.

The crocus don’t see this as they chatter
beneath a cheerful petal of spring sky.
They ignore the air’s brisk arm
as they peer at their fresh stems, step
on the leftover fragments
of old leaves.

When the night wind twists them to pieces,
they will die like this: laughing,
tossing their brilliant heads
in the bitter air.

1 comment:

BarryGillogly said...

Though certainly not a green thumb, I am always surprised when the crocus are the first to pop out with color. So pleasant!