…………..I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Thank you Mr Wordsworth. I, too, was wandering the other day; not quite as lonely as a cloud and I wasn’t floating on high or beside the lake either. But it was breezy and I was beneath the trees going past the village churchyard. That’s when I saw them. Daffodils. At last, all in flower, fluttering and dancing in the sunshine. Doesn’t it make you feel good and your heart sing and tells you that at long last Spring is arriving after the cold winter. Those lovely yellow blooms. But what do you know about daffodils?
Daffodils are native to Mediterranean regions, particularly Spain and Portugal as well as North Africa and the Middle East. They were grown extensively by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Daffodils, narcissus, are found in Greek mythology. Called narkisso by the Greeks due to their strong, almost overpowering narcotic like scent. They actually associated the flower with Hades. And then there is the Greek god Narcissus. So absorbed in himself that when he saw his image in a stream and stopped to gaze at it he fell in and drowned. The other gods placed flowers on the bank of the stream in his remembrance, narcissus or daffodils.
The Egyptians saw the daffodil as a flower of death. Pharaohs were buried with the skins of daffodil bulbs placed over their eyes, nose and mouth. In complete contrast Christians see the daffodil as a symbol of both Christ’s death and resurrection, and in many countries it is associated with Easter.
Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans and thought to have healing powers, but the bulb sap can actually irritate the skin. They rose again in popularity from the C17th onwards becoming firm garden favourites by the Victorian age.
Victorians sent a daffodil in a bouquet of flowers as a token of regard or affection.
Today the daffodil is used as a fundraising symbol by many cancer charities. It is the national flower and emblem of Wales and worn by many on March 1st, St David’s Day.
And finally, there is the Farndale daffodil walk which runs for 2 to 3 miles along the banks of the River Dove in North Yorkshire. Wild daffodils thought to have been brought to Farndale by the medieval monks from Rievaulx Abbey and which flower a little later than the ones in the garden. So as I wander along this carpet of golden blooms I shall heed Mr Wordsworth’s words once more.
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils