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.
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.