Our parish established The Thompson Memorial Crocus Lawn in 2020 with the planting of 10,000 crocus bulbs in our historic churchyard. Their spring blossoms remind us of a treasured community event, a beloved and recently deceased parish member, and the yearly promise of Resurrection.
For 22 years, our parish bloomed with a festive Garden Market. The two-day May event, featured spring flowers, vegetable plants, delectable treats, and 50 garden-related vendors. Over 4,000 visitors from the community and tristate area (Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware) enjoyed the yearly fundraising event that celebrated God’s creation. The event provided a yearly opportunity for us to give church tours and highlight our ministries. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we canceled the 2020 and 2021 Garden Markets.
Parishioners and community members were understandably disappointed about the Garden Market cancelations but the sudden death of the Garden Market founder and parishioner Diane Thompson, last February, 2020 left everyone reeling. Thompson, a vibrant 80 year old, died during a horseback riding excursion. Her zest for living, love for God, the church and community—and special love of flowers—were the catalyst for the Garden Market’s inception in 1998 and continued success.
Grappling with the loss of Diane and at the same time dealing with the pandemic’s ramifications on the parish and community, we struggled in 2020 to maintain our optimism. As a healthy antidote for a difficult time, parish leadership decided to create the Thompson Memorial Crocus Lawn as a tribute to Diane. In response, parishioners eagerly ordered bulbs (100 bulbs for $12.00); and as a result, the parish received 10,000 bulbs to plant! In late October, over 65 parishioners and community members had a parish-wide planting day to establish the lawn.
Why crocus? They are a harbinger of spring—and symbolize youthfulness and cheerfulness. Crocus tommasinianus, often called “Tommies”, thrive in well-drained soil, and can tolerate both sun and shade. Squirrel and deer resistant, they flourish in naturalized lawns untreated for weeds. They bloom for three to six weeks in late February and early March—and promise a purple bloom during the Lenten season as their color varies from pale lavender to deep reddish purple with a white throat. Crocuses are one of the first pollen sources available to bees in early to mid-spring, as the flower’s aroma attracts bees and native pollinators alike. Thompson was a bee survival advocate, so this environmentally friendly plant became the ideal selection for the crocus lawn.
According to St. Mary Anne’s rector, the Rev. John Schaeffer, the Thompson Memorial Crocus Lawn promises to be “a beautiful yearly Lenten reminder of the Easter Resurrection”. Schaeffer believes, “It’s just what the parish and community needs after such a difficult time.”