Sunday, 26 April 2009

Worth the Wait

Some things in life are definitely worth waiting for but there are very few things for which I would have waited 12 years. But that is how long we have been kept in suspense by one crown imperial bulb. My mother-in-law bought this bulb for my birthday on what turned out to be her last visit to us in 1997 and told me how very beautiful it would look. We planted it in the flowerbed in our courtyard so we would be able to get the full benefit of its glory!

The years went by and every year without fail the leaves started coming out of the groundin early spring, looked fresh and full of zest, but helas no flower ever appeared. Were it not for the fact that she gave it to me we might have dug it up in disgust after 5 years or so but we could not bring ourselves to do so and just left it. It did seem to multiply underground as more and more foliage appeared every year.

And then suddenly this spring for no apparent reason I suddenly spotted some green buds underneath the leaves and although I found it hard to believe, flowers seemed to be on their way. From that moment onwards the plant was cosseted, staked and covered with fleece if there was even the slightest hint of night frost.

Now it's open and was it ever worth the wait!! It's official title is Fritillaria Imperialis but it's known as Crown Imperial. It was introduced to the West from Turkey in the 1570s and derives its name from association with the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire.

Since then it has been much admired and represented in art endlessly.

In the language of flower books it represents Majesty and Power, as it is a very majestic flower. It grows to a great height and looks down on all the surrounding greenery.
And here is is as mentioned in The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare:

....bold oxlips, and
The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flow'r-de-luce being one. O, these I lack.
To make you garlands of and my sweet friend
To strew him o'er and o'er.


Mal* said...

Wow. A beautiful reminder to us about the power of patience.

Katamommy said...

That is amazing, I've never seen anything like it!

Debby said...

Oh my gosh Frieda I so enjoyed reading this post. It is just gorgeous and so happy it decided this was the year.

Jude said...

Oh, wow, I want one of those....patience is not known to me though, I'd best get off and start looking. Does it have a scent??
What a wonderful way to remember your mother in law.

Lenna Andrews said...

This is simply stunning, Frieda!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. xo lenna

Clucking about said...

Oh so beautiful!what a lovely post and such a lasting gift..

Colette said...

Hi Frieda I came to visit because Lenna recommended me here.

I am wowed by your plant! Mainly because I have that vintage picture in my botanical book and I am amazed to see it is real.

I was wondering if you would be interested in a marie antoinette quiltie page swap over at Cassandra's ning site? I'm a member there too.

Helen Cowans said...

The flower is amazing! Inspiration for a quilt.....?

Susan Burgess said...

Totally MAGICAL! Sanna


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