Ghost in the Crinum Field —- A Massive Bulb Stimulates Weird Thoughts While the Garden Crew Works

I see things nobody else does.  Snapshots, little fictional scenarios flash through my head.  Does that happen to you?  

Today when we were digging the biggest of big bulbs, Crinum ‘Fiesta’, it happened.  Leaning on shovels next to me, two nice fella’s who I thought would never have a black thought like the one I pushed to the back of my vision.  But just to check, I started the conversation in a  subtle, round about way, “ Hey remember that lady who thought we’d re-wired her mower in an attempt to blow her up when she went to cut the grass in the herb garden?”  Of couse they remembered that— we had a nice laugh at the memory of that charming job.  

Encouraged, I went on gingerly.  “Hey look at that crinum bulb.  Remember that intern with the blond dread locks?  It kind of looks like him doesn’t it.  That oval head, thick ropy roots like dreads.  He said he was going to Australia?  But did y’all ever wonder what really happened to him?”  

Jenks with an 8 year old bulb. If you get a new pup now, plant it where it can stay and grow for a while!

No one laughed.

“I mean,  when we dig like this, we end up with a hole that sort of looks like a grave.  If we threw a body in and planted back some really aggressive bulbs, do you think, maybe…..”  They waited, wondering where I was going with this.   “That the bulbs would take on that guys characteristics, his looks?”

Then finally, they quit looking at me suspiciously.  When you’re working on a crew, in the hot sun,  conversations get weird.  Finally, one guy jumped into the fantasy asking a provocative question, “When you’re out here at night, turning off the irrigation or such, do you ever hear muffled Bob Marley songs coming from underneath the ‘Fiesta’ row?   And to emphasis he put his fist to his mouth, to sing some muffled lines from Marley’s famed…. Those Songs of Freedom.

Nice man. Maybe a bit over the line but…..  Everybody has little weird fantasies while working. 

We look more closely at the bulbs.  We all see a few things that remind us of Rosta Rodney. The shape of the head, I mean bulb. The short thick neck.  Thick ropy roots all caked together with goo and mud and a bug crawling around in it. The leaves as wide as a vegan’s bicep. 

Next year, when that thick scape emerges, when those pink flowers unfurl will we see them differently? Instead of  elaborate pink curls of fondant cupcake petals, we see dreadlocks? Will we again enjoy the musky vanilla cream fragrance?  Or will they now smell differently.  Will we pick up a hint of patchouli?


Here’s a video and a close up picture below that.


Crinum ‘Fiesta’ intricately curled petals. Most flowers come in May and June but a few emerge later in summer.


  1. Lynn Moredock on July 14, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Enjoyed this – but you may have to rename Fiesta Audrey II (or maybe Audrey III)!

    • Jenks Farmer on July 14, 2020 at 9:49 am

      Thank you for all of your words and support!

  2. Tibia Johns on July 15, 2020 at 7:12 am

    Really enjoyed this story! I’ll never look at crinum bulbs the same again! (From another gardener who shares flashing fictional scenarios.)

  3. Bob Waites on July 16, 2020 at 8:33 am

    I can picture the interaction. Good writing, Jenks.

    • Jenks Farmer on July 16, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you Bob. I wouldn’t use all those complete sentences without you.

  4. Lyman on July 18, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Loved it.

  5. Nancy Breland on July 29, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    I loved seeing you dig these up!!!!!!!!!! I am going to plant my Lilly plants now that they have bloomed! I did not know how tall they were!!!! They will be 5 or 6 feet tall!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Comment