Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'm changing my name to Ptolemy...

 Crocus speciosus 'Albus'

Yes! I am the "King of De Nile": after two nights of dodging the frost bullet, the Weather Service is predicting anything from 23F to 25F tonight. I have lugged all the tender plants I care most about indoors--a real mess--and am wistfully looking at the dozens of pots full of still cheerfully blooming Pentas, Plumbago, Callibrachoa, Gomphrena, Petunia, Nicotiana, Angelonia, Euryops--and more--that shall succumb to the Grim Scythe of Hard Frost. Rather than dwell on the demise of all my tropicalia, I have decided to declare premature spring: since Autumn Crocus has been comandeered by Colchicum, I propose we call these "Premature Spring Crocuses" and just declare spring once and for all.

 Crocus pulchellus

Once again the wonderful throng of Crocus pulchellus I planted decades ago in front of the Alpine House in the Rock Alpine Garden which have proliferated, are doing their thang. I must find a spot where I can get these to repeat the show at my home garden: their pale lavender goblets cheer me up each time I walk by them. Cheers!

Crocus kotschyanus 
I have one or two blossoms on my  C. kotschyanus at home, but Mike Kintgen has got a great little colony started at DBG.: I believe these trace to Loren Russell, who knows a place where they have naturalized in Corvallis. He is a very good man to know, incidentally! An admirable man. A generous man. A good man. A great plantsman!...(I must remember to send him this link...).

 Crocus boryi

I have been mildly taunted by friends for my love of white (and pale) flowers. Taunt away! You have obviously not spent the dusks and twilights I have, padding about my garden, yearning for the lingering light to stay, for night to delay so I can drink in a few more minutes in the magic of my fellow beings, these adorable little plants I love so much. And the pale ones, the white ones respond with seeming to almost glow: I know this all sounds terribly maudlin and corny for you cruel cynics, but true plant lovers will understand. Vita Sackville-West understood only too well. I have yet to go to Sissinghurst, but when I do, I shall make a beeline for the White Garden (a splendid idea in my book).
Crocus cancellatus v. cancellatus
I put in one darker blue premature spring crocus for you color-whores. I do not think that a garden can have enough crocuses. Or irises for that matter. Or eriogonums, salvias or saxifrages. Or any one of another few hundred other genera...I suppose that is why I have dedicated my life to worshiping and studying these delightful minions of nature. And since you are reading this, you must agree. Thank you brother/sister/friend. Would everyone were flower besotten as we are!
Ptolemy Kelaidis


  1. Wow, but I remember most Oct's in Denver getting that first snow, just not that cold until a few weeks later. May your blooms keep going and those hard-freeze temps be short-lived. People here getting panicky with 42-47F forecast lows tonight, pretty funny!

  2. I live on Lookout Mtn, in the foothills above Denver. As I recall, we had a SEPTEMBER frost last year that killed all the tender things. The aspen leaves went from green to brown within a week - heartbreaking! --This morning, everything has a coating of ice; aspens are drooping to ground, but hackberry standing strong in golden glory. Thanks for the small mercies...

  3. Just as you said, David, we a\seem to have have dodged the hard frost bullet down here: it is shaping up so far to be an outstanding fall...

    The Aspen have been breathtaking this fall in the hills--despite my carping, I am enjoying it all enormously: at this rate I may go through the winter positively cheerful if I don't watch out!

    The small mercies often turn into the big ones!


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