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Veronique de Turenne

White after Labor Day

At the heart of the Christmas season, as each new dusk comes sooner than the last, as the solstice colors of red and green and gold lend comfort, I buy a bag of ugly, knobby scaly bulbs. Narcissus. Nothing about them looks promising. Are they even alive? Planting them at all is equal parts faith and gardening.

Put them in a bowl, add water up to their shoulders and wait. And wait. And wait a little longer. Soon a slender stalk pokes through, a soft, ripe green. Then there's the swelling of a bud. And one day they're open, all of them, a froth of white, just right for the new year.Narcissus in Paradise Cove

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