Crocuses by Rosalind Bliss
‘When you see your Crocuses wide open in flower sally forth with a stick of sealing-wax or the amber mouthpiece of an old pipe in your hand . . . Rub whichever of the two unusual accompaniments of a garden stroll you have chosen, on your coat-sleeve if it be woollen, and hold the rubbed portion as soon as possible after ceasing rubbing near the anthers of an open Crocus, and you will find the electricity thereby generated will cause the pollen grains to fly up to the electrified object, and, what is more, to stick there, but so lightly that directly they are rubbed against the stigma of another Crocus they will leave the amber and be left where you, and Nature before you, intended them to be.’
Essential instructions from E. A. Bowles . . . if you were wondering how to pollinate crocuses. Ursula Buchan introduced us to the green-fingered Bowles in her article on My Garden in Spring, which was featured in Issue 33 of Slightly Foxed and was illustrated by this woodcut from Rosalind Bliss.