Monday, April 2, 2012

Small azure irid

It is barely April, and the crocus season is almost over this year! We are weeks ahead of schedule, although this evening it is chilly and snow is predicted for the a brief glimpse back Crocus sieberi in Sandy's garden a few weeks ago...widespread in Greece and Crete, I particularly love this tricolor form which was once rather dear, but has become quite inexpensive lately: I must remind myself to buy a few more hundred to plant next Autumn for my meadow !

In Greek, κρίνο (=crinum) can certainly be used for the Amaryllid it is applied to in Scientific nomenclature. But in fact, it is used for most any small wild petaloid monocot. It is applied to irises and lilies as often as stretching it to apply to a crocus (even though that is a common Greek name today as well) is not unreasonable! I find it charming that the song that propelled Nana Mouskouri to superstardom in Greece, namely Nikos Gatsos classic "Athina" sums up the vast, sprawling metropolis of Athens as a "small blue irid": surely, no city has had a more charming or lyrical song written about it than this classic of modern Greek lyric poetry.


By Nikos Gatsos

With white birds and clouds

I shall dress up the sky

And your deathless name

I shall carve upon the stone

In the orchard of the sky

I shall enter and select and pluck

From the myrtle bush and everlasting

I shall weave a crown

Athens! Athens!

Joy of the earth and of the dawn,

Small azure irid

One evening, upon the beach

I shall remain your little sea shell

Αθήνα -

Μ' άσπρα πουλιά και σύννεφα

τον ουρανό θα ντύσω

και τ' ονομά σου αθάνατο

στην πέτρα θα κεντήσω

στο περιβόλι τ' ουρανού

θα μπω για να διαλέξω

κι απ' τη μυρτιά κι αμάραντο

στεφάνι να σου πλέξω

Αθήνα- Αθήνα

Χαρά της γης και της αυγής

μικρό γαλάζιο κρίνο

Κάποια βραδιά (δις)στην αμμουδιά

κοχύλι σου θα μείνω


  1. Love them...especially growing up through the tawny grass...makes a great contrast.

  2. I have not managed to get a proper picture of Sandy's magnificent buffalograss lawn in several years: this is actually Mike Kintgen's (very near me. He is Senior Horticulturist at Denver Botanic Gardens and a superb gardener). Amazing more people haven't figured this out hereabouts: by far the best way to grow masses of bulbs.


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