The Conceited Daffodil

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.

William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” is but one of many laurels to what may be one of the most recognizable flowers in the world. It is universally loved and celebrated for its brilliant yellow declaration of spring.

The first daffodils are opening just today here on the Currant Farm. Like everything else this year, they’re a bit early. The farm is studded with pockets of these yellow miracles. A few bulbs planted by the ancient farmers who worked this land over the last couple of centuries have become thousands along old stone walls and here and there little ballets of lemon gilded blooms dance joyfully in the dappled sunlight of the woods without plan or reason. There are dozens of varieties and hundreds of hybrids. The paper whites we bring into bloom indoors in the winter, Jonquils, which boast multiple blooms on the same stem, the wild daffodil so loved by Shakespeare and the pink, orange and multicolored hybrids on the market

They all belong to the botanical family Narcissus, stealing the name from vain young man in the famous Greek myth. While walking along a quiet stream, Narcissus, happened upon a pool just above a fallen log, and looking down, he noticed his reflection in the still water. He instantly fell in love with the face looking back at him. So great was his adoration of himself, he forsook all other people and things in the world so that he might spend all his time luxuriating by the
reflective water admiring his own image. He was unable to look away and eventually  succumbed to starvation. The Gods transformed him into a daffodil flower, bent over, looking down so he could remain at the side of the pool forever.
Our yellow trumpets of spring are also loath to share their beauty. They contain a chemical in their sticky sap called calcium oxalate, which repels deer, mice and other animals in search of a snack. They also don’t like to share their beauty with cut flowers. This chemical shortens the lives of other cut flowers in a vase. So, when arranging spring bouquets, keep the vain narcissi separate. They love only themselves. But we accede to this vanity because their pageant of yellow
crowns announces the defeat of winter and welcome the season of hope and promise.

Cheers from the Currant Farm