"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Not-Quite-Spring Spring Snowflakes (1 of 2)

Not-Quite-Spring Spring Snowflakes (1 of 2)

From “The Garden” in Hold Bright the Star: A Book of Poems by Sue McConkey:

Dreaming of springtime
she held in her mittened hand —
a single snowflake flower

From “Leucojum” in Garden Bulbs in Color by J. Horace McFarland:

“These are the Snowflakes of the early spring garden. Taller than many of our early-flowering bulbs, they grow best in small clumps, like violets. In fact, the genus name, which dates back to Theophrastus, means white violet. They were cherished in the seventeenth-century garden of John Parkinson, who considered them next in importance to the daffodils. Leucojum should not be confused with Galanthus, the Snowdrop; the former produces more abundant foliage and large flower-spikes.

Leucojums are by no means difficult to grow, and seem to do well in ordinary garden loam, preferably in full sun. Set them at least four inches deep, in well-drained soil. As with other early-flowering bulbs planted in the shrub-border, they can be left undisturbed for many years, increasing into great clumps, from which arise the dainty blooms….

“The species
Leucojum vernum is perhaps the best known, with its delicate white bells, dotted green, on twelve-inch stems. A later-flowering kind is L. aestivum, the Summer or Meadow Snowflake. Then there is a fall-flowering kind known as L. autumnale, but it is comparatively rare.”


My frequently-visited favorite historical cemetery and garden was closed for the month of January and part of February — the first extended closure in the eighteen years I’ve lived nearby. There are several large reconstruction projects going on, many of which started last summer and will continue well into the year, including repair or replacement of retaining walls and brick drainage culverts, and repaving many of the roadways. When I was able to observe some of the repair work last fall, it was fascinating to see how the it’s being done with materials that readily match what was originally put in place, including brick and stone that match that of a hundred years ago yet is still available for purchase at your friendly neighborhood hardware store — and can also be found in many residential properties (including mine!) throughout Grant Park.

This work is taking place in parallel with the construction of a new visitor center that broke ground last fall and is expected to take 18-24 months to complete. Of several articles I read about the new center, this one from Rough Draft Atlanta has the most renderings of the proposed building, including this bird’s eye view of the property…

… which shows that the spacial orientation and layout (including the landscaping behind the building) is being designed to mirror the layout of the cemetery itself…

… reminding me of three research papers I wrote years ago about how the layout of the cemetery mirrored the geographic, racial, and ethnic divisions of the city of Atlanta throughout the early years of its founding and subsequent development. The research project is one I remember well, and from it I learned a lot about how to better observe public spaces and how to consider the relationships between those spaces and the people that (historically or currently) inhabit them. It will be interesting to see if the completed visitor center and its surroundings will help provide another reflective layer to that history.

While the work continues, the cemetery reopened a couple of days ago — it was only the road paving that necessitated a temporary close-up — whenst This Photographer returned to find a variety of late winter, pre-spring flowers, including the first light yellow daffodils, some white and red quince, and the happy little snowflakes you see in the images below (and in the next post). The snowflakes had popped up in two locations: the first ones (shown in the first five photos) were emerging in a shaded area filled with pine bark and were skinny and and a bit sparse; but the rest were in a sunnier area near the property’s entrance and exhibited the more robust clusters of white flowers and clumps of dark green leaves. These are officially called Leucojum vernum — the spring snowflake — which has a summer relative called Leucojum aestivum and an autumn version (that I just learned about from the quote above) originally called Leucojum autumnale.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!


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