Crocus crystals

I loved being at the talk Mat Murray (RBG Sydney) gave to the Victorian Group of The Alpine Garden Society a few weeks back.  Not only did I pick up on the debunking of a few myths (like the need to include a piece of basal plate when you cut your bulbs up for propagation – not so, apparently), but I loved hearing that Mat’s passion for bulbs started from a pic of Crocus ‘Pickwick’ in grass.

The image that set Mat’s heart aflutter had many of them in grass. This is the best I could do.

He’s since gone on to grow an incredible range of rarer and subtler bulbs, but you could tell he’d never lost his first love, for what might be considered pretty low-brow amongst bulb snobs.

Not only is this heartwarming, it also emboldens me to publicly confess my own love for ‘Pickwick’.

I’ve only got a few of them, planted in thin grass, and they’ve had a hard time of it, what with sulphur crested cockatoos biting them off at ground level and digging away at the bulbs.  But I’ve enough to keep up the love, and have been out with the camera trying to capture the incredible, spell-binding sheen on the buds.

It’s even more pronounced on the darker forms of Dutch crocus.

Then, in looking really, really close, there’s this astonishing crystalline cell thing going on.

And, of course, the outrageously coloured stigma (from which saffron is made, from the species C. sativus).

There was also quite a nice ladybug-shaped raindrop hanging on the side, picking up on the colour from the petal-feathering.

Seems like you can fall in love with these things from across the room, or across a lawn in this case, but they just keep getting better, the closer and closer you get.


  1. Having grown up where winters were basically white (interior of BC, Canada), and being a little kid who already liked to garden at age 5, I would wait and watch, wait for the snow to finally melt, then watch for the little pointed spears of the first crocus to appear… was such a welcome return to life in the garden. Even if at age 5 I did not have words to describe the feeling, nor have adequate words even now, it was somehow deep, formative and very important! Big job for a little flower!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with Cyril’s comments. Tiny flowers – great expectations!

    Spears of hope that pierce the winter fug and in a trice turn into brilliant crystalline pieces to bejewell a sleeping landscape. And to awaken something deep inside the heart … rebirth, renewal, the mystery of the circle of life ..

    Crocus need to seen in sheets or up close – both are very different experiences.

    Cheers, Marcus

  3. Wow. So beautifully said – by both. These are the very reasons that we garden.

  4. 😉 Awww I am glad you liked my talk Michael…. yes “Pickwick” is one of my perrenial favourites. Its a good doer for me and I love the beautifully veined flowers. I find it performs best where the soils are moist and a little heavier.


    1. if i can send you the picture of the progeny of “Pickwick” seedlings i raised I will send it in


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