The tarragon came back unexpectedly. A little inconveniently, too. I thought I had removed it all last summer while re-doing the central bed, but that's what I get for thinking. This past week the tarragon began to put on a serious flush of growth amid the bed's newly sprouting seedlings. Something needed to be done about it, say, to put it in a pot until some other plan shows up. While mixing sand into potting soil then this morning, I found my mind drifting far from spring and herbs and seedlings and back all the way to Christmas. The sand is left over from this past year's luminarias, one of the southwest's most beautiful Christmas traditions, and it reminded me of arranging the bags, and candlelight glowing through paper on the front step, and Old Town bright with festivity.
Really, though, was it the sand, or was it the light this morning, filling the bowls of the last 'Cream Beauty' crocuses, that made me think of luminarias?
|C. chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty'|
A pleasant synchronicity, in any case. And isn't a crocus a kind of luminaria, a "festival light" showing the spirit of the season to your door? We celebrate so many holidays with light—with birthday candles, fireworks, bonfires—that cheering on the advent of spring with a flower that shines brightly just seems right.
|C. chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl'|
Previous posts include Wishing For..., a lovely meditation on time by Donna at Garden's Eye View; and the five very different Views of Forsythia, from herald to nuisance to exotica, by Jean of Jean's Garden. B-a-g at Experiments with Plants explores different qualities of saffron in Crocus, and Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys values crocuses for their very smallness in A Bloom of Significance. My own posts have wandered through attitudes toward dearth and plenty, evocations of shy wildness, arrivals and departures, and mild but ecological comic relief. Between us all, a far-flung set of approaches.
Now, for the grand finale, I'd like just to offer a festival of crocuses, to revel in these flowers for their own astonishing selves: for the petals' delicate shadings from icy paleness to candlelit warmth, and the startling solar flare of style and stigma;
the transformation from sheath to petal in the first moments of opening;
|C. tomasiniana 'Ruby Giant'|
the whorls the petals make as they unfold in the sunshine (though these are blooming in full shade, but that's a technicality);
|C. ancyrensis 'Golden Bunch'|
and the colors that are so deeply saturated that they're just a step away from being pure light.
Last year I wrote one post about crocuses and felt that I'd said...not all that could be said, of course, but what I wanted to say about them. This year I've found myself in a blogging quandary—how can (or why would) you keep posting, year after year, about a garden when the cycle of the seasons is the same? How do you keep from growing stale? How do you know when you already have, and when it's time to stop?
The "Thirteen Ways" and all of your contributions, kininvie, Dave, Donna, Jean, b-a-g, and Holley, have been delightful on their own. They've also been incredibly helpful to me in my quandary, and I thank you all in a huge, huge way. I suppose this endeavor is once again proof of that old truism: if you're doubting your commitment to something, you should just engage with it more closely. One way or another, you'll know. The crocuses obviously still have plenty of material inside them, plenty of ways of prompting that “wow” that somehow turns into prose. Meanwhile, we have Twelve Remarkably Different Ways of Looking at a Crocus (or Some Equivalent).
That leaves at least one for next year.