Monday, April 14, 2014
I took this picture yesterday at the Reeves Reed Arboretum near my home. The arboretum has a bowl-shaped area where more than 30,000 daffodils have been planted over many years. It is a pleasure to visit when they bloom each April. Food for the soul.
Daffodils are not native to the Americas. They pop up in early spring in meadows and woody areas of Europe, North Africa and West Asia. There are many varieties and hybrids in colors from white to coral and orange. They also are known as narcissuses (or narcissusi) and jonquils.
Along with forsythia, daffodils are the first bright harbingers of spring. After this past long, cold winter, they are particularly welcome.
For those with limited gardening experience, daffodils are easy and rewarding to plant. All you need to do is get some bulbs in autumn, take a trowel and dig holes, perhaps adding some bone meal, and place the bulbs right (skinny) side up and cover them with soil. It is generally agreed that clusters of daffodils are the best way to go.
England's great romantic poet, William Wordsworth, also liked daffodils. Following is his poem on the subject.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.