Walking through Lincoln’s Inn Fields this week on my way to Covent Garden, I was pleased to see this fine annual display of Autumn Crocus in the autumn sunshine and then, taking a different route home to Spitalfields, I came upon some more in St Paul’s Churchyard (below).
In 1996, I walked the whole length of the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and, in the eastern Pyrenees at this time of year, I came upon Autumn Crocus growing wild in the mountain valleys. Although I saw some growing among grass, I was most impressed that they forced their way up stubbornly through the hard crust of the beaten-earth path to pave my way with flowers.
There’s something magical, and perverse too, about these Crocus that come out of season and stick up straight out of out of the ground without leaves – as if someone had stuck plastic flowers into the earth. They are nature’s genuine late bloomers and all the more welcome for it.