Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spring Surprises: Crocus, Hyacinths, Nash

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spring Surprises: Crocus, Hyacinths, Nash

Article excerpt

Ogden Nash, who wrote wonderfully humorous verse on just about everything, had his say about spring, too. Refusing to sing its praises, he wrote: "What kind of season is it, please, when in March you parch and in May you freeze?" Acknowledging that his opinion was not the norm, he went on to note: "You give some people a glimpse of a crocus and all their perspective gets out of focus."

That's me. I've never gotten too excited about crocus, but this year they've been unusually pretty in my otherwise sparse spring garden. Several pink primroses given me last spring by Herb Bilgram, who grew them from seed gathered in Germany, a few hyacinths under the yews in front of the house and a scattering of daffodils have been it, thus far. But around the daffodils is a carpet - well, really just a small throw rug - of purple and golden crocus that I must remember to add to next fall. And in what I call my "secret garden," a little strip alongside the garage, a row of extra large crocus, white edged in blue, were a surprise the first warm day.

If I were a super-organized gardener, I could turn to my records and find the exact name so I could add to them, too; but my records - some scribbled notes in the margin of a calendar - indicate that I "planted white crocus in the secret garden" on a "cold, grungy day, Nov. 12." Bulbs ordered in late summer had not arrived until late fall, and I remember being cranky about having to plant them. Now I'm glad I did, as they brighten even cold, grungy days in March. The Ogden Nash book, a 1949 publication called simply "Versus" (no, not verses, but versus), was purchased on a gorgeous sunny day, the kind of day you should be spending in the garden. Fellow antique dealers Joan, Marie and I were participating in the antique show at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. It is ever thus. When the weather is perfect I have indoors commitments; the days I can spend at home are those cold, grungy ones. But it had its plus side. Business was brisk in our booth, and I made a beeline, as I always do, for the Friends of the Library tables to purchase old books, ostensibly for resale - though some of them end up on my own bulging book shelves. …

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