By Mary Jo

In praise of daffodils:

“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”  by William Wordsworth

One of the cool things about writing a blog is that it allows me to learn more about everyday things that interest me.  I’d started researching a very different topic for today when I stopped in my local Trader Joe’s and saw that they had bundles of fresh cut daffodils in their flower section.  They’re only briefly available each spring, but this year I got lucky on the timing, so I immediately bought two bunches. (The daffs above are the ones I bought, and they are still opening.)

I’ve always had A Thing about daffodils.  Where I grew up in the farmland between Buffalo and Rochester in Western New York, the winters were long and cold and very snowy.  I thought it was normal to walk between piles of snow higher than my head (though granted, I was shorter then!) The first real sign of spring was the sprouting buds of daffodils near our house so I particularly loved seeing them. Because they grow from bulbs, they come back year after year after year.But my fondness for daffs intensified during the two years I lived in England.  The English are great gardeners in general and they seem to have a special affinity for daffodils. In early spring, all the supermarkets I patronized had buckets of cut daffodils sitting on the end of the check-out counter.  Irresistible!  They arrived in late winter and I believe they were brought in from the Scilly Isles, which are off the southernmost tip of Cornwall.  The islands are surrounded by the Gulf Stream so their flowers bloom early. (Cut flowers image on right by Danielle Barnes on Unsplash)

At the time I lived there, a bunch cost 10p, equal to US 25 cents.  (To any English folk who might be reading here, do they still have those beautiful buckets of daffs in the stores, though surely at a much higher price!  Ah, I see in the photo that they’re now a quid per bunch.  Totally worth it.)

The genus Narcissus includes daffodils, jonquils, and the flowers that are also called narcissus, and they’ve been around for a very long time. They seem to have originally developed in the Western Mediterranean but they spread widely.  There are many, many variations of colors and size but the basic shape is six petals set in a circle with a trumpet coming out from the middle of the blossom.  Some trumpets are long, some are short like the paper whites, but they all look joyful. (Paper whites on left by Annie Pratt on Unsplash.)

The name of the genus is often associated with the famous Greek myth about Narcissus, an incredibly beautiful youth who disdained all advances from others and ultimately fell in love with his own reflection in a stream.  There are different versions of the myth, but one said he annoyed the goddess Nemesis who laid a curse on him so that he could never be loved by the one he loved; reflections in water aren’t going to give much back to a relationship so he dwindled away to a flower.  (It was never a good idea to annoy Greek deities!)

I think of daffodils as very British.  They’re the national flower of Wales.  (The other Welsh national plant is the leek, which makes for good eating. <G>) I’ve mentioned daffodils multiple times in my stories when I want to make a particular point. (Orange center flower on right by Yoksel Zok on Unsplash)

Flowers in general offer us beauty all year round. While daffodils are special to me, I like just about all flowers for their colors and uplifting presence.  Are you also enthralled by daffodils, or are there other flowers that are particularly special to you?  Let me know!  I’m willing to be enthralled by all kinds of flowers! (Daffs on left by Jason Mitrione on Unsplash.)

Mary Jo, who also has a weakness for the color and fragrance of lilacs…



23 thoughts on “Daffodils!”

  1. I love daffodils as they provide such a beautiful splash of colour! We have loads in our garden right now and they are opening up and will be around for another few weeks at least. As I live near the Welsh border, there are also lots of wild daffodils along the roadsides here and it’s lovely when you drive along!

  2. Here in Ireland we have Daffodil Day every March where they are sold in shops all over the country to raise money for cancer research. They always make a lot of money. Even though I grow them in my own garden, I always buy some because of the cause.

  3. Daffodils are so special as their flowers are extremely cheerful on grey March days, such as we are experiencing in the Scottish Borders at the moment. I have a new-to-me garden so very interesting to see what bulbs are going to come up. Currently we have narcissus pseudonarcissus flowering which are delightful. The variety you can get is extraordinary, some with very strong scent and others that flower well into May. And they all seem to pick brilliantly to put in a vase.

  4. Daffodils are always so cheerful … especially on a grey day. Thank you for your post and pictures, Mary Jo! I will admit to a fondness for tulips.

    • Kareni, I’m fond of tulips also, but here in Maryland, they usually bloom just as the hotter weather come in so they don’t last very long. But gorgeous while they’re here for sure!

  5. When I bought my house forty some years ago there was a patch of yellow daffs growing in the back yard. They are the first promise of Spring to me. I can look out my back window late January/early February and see the little green stems poking up through the frozen earth. Lets me know Spring is near.

    p s – I love lilacs too.

    • Mary T, so nice that your house welcomed you with daffodils when you moved in. Lilacs come later in the spring, and I adore the sent as well as the blossoms. We had a giant lilac bush near the house and it would bloom around my birthday every year.

  6. I lived a good part of my life (age 7-32) south of Buffalo. Yes, the winters were long and the snow piles were high. The snow piles are still on the high side depending on which side of the lake effect storm you are on. I do remember eagerly looking for daffodils as the sign that spring was sure to follow.

  7. Lovely cheery post, Mary Jo. I love daffies — and a host of other spring bulbs as well. My parents’ garden had masses of them but here in my new house, I just have some pots with bulbs in them, as the rest of the garden is all indigenous plants or vegie boxes. Still a couple of pots of daffies brightens the place no end.

  8. Perfect post for today, Mary Jo, as I was bemoaning the lack of daffodils as of yet around here! I’ve loved them since I was a small child and my grandmother hid Easter eggs in the daffodils that grew here and there all over her yard. And I came to love them even more when I visited Brodie Castle in Morayshire in Scotland in the spring many years ago. In the first half of the 20th century, the then Laird of Brodie (Scots called him the Brodie of Brodie) developed 100s of varieties of daffodils – and planted them all over the estate. I had never before seen so many – and never smelled anything more glorious!

      • It’s a wonderful place to visit any time of the year, Mary Jo – and it’s now under the National Trust of Scotland and you can even stay there in the Laird’s apartment! Wouldn’t that be a treat, to be staying in a castle, surrounded by fields of daffodils! Sigh….

        • Constance–sooooooooooooooo tempting, especially during daffodil season! And in the Laird’s apartment! Though I suspect that since Scots are more like to have weapons on the walls rather than grandeur!

  9. My daffodils aren’t quite open yet, but I’m looking forward to picking some to bring in the house. They are so cheery, and another bonus is, the bulbs are poisonous, so they don’t get dug up and eaten by squirrels and other critters! The deer don’t eat the flowers either. The big yellow trumpets don’t have much of a scent, but I’ve got some smaller narcissus that has a wonderful sweet smell.

    • Karin, it’s true that the classic big yellow trumpets don’t have a lot of scent, but you lovely that you have the smaller, sweet scented narcissus. Sadly, there are none of those around here.


Leave a Comment