Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some Late Winter Cheer!

At the school where I work, we've a staff tradition of planting daffodils during one of our late summer meetings.  In the spring, when we see them begin to bloom, we know that our work with the current year's class will soon be coming to an end and, like the daffodils, the children will have grown and blossomed.  The growth that a child experiences during his or her first few years of school seems as beautiful, miraculous, and rapid as the emergence and blooming of these happy flowers. You will notice that some of them are growing at the feet of rose canes.  It is my own tradition to plant  a rose bush in the spring for each retiring teacher.  Our flower beds represent our community of learners of all ages.
The Daffodil is a symbol of Wales whose patron saint is St. David.  St. David's day is a national holiday in Wales which falls on March 1, and many people tuck either a daffodil or a leek into their lapels in honor of the day.  The Leek is St. David's personal symbol and the association between the daffodil and leek is strengthened by  the fact that they have similar names in Welsh, Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil, literally "Peter's leek").
The daffodils at school are just beginning to put out a few blooms.
Yes, they're bright and common but to my mind there is little as cheerful as these blaring yellow trumpeters on a wet and gray winter day!
Poem on Daffodils (and Other Flowers)
in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how
in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)
in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes
in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)
and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me.
e.e. cummings

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. 
William Wordsworth

These Tête-à-Tête daffodils look sweet planted with  inky blue grape hyacinths in pots.
Many were quite fond of this combination of ornamental grass and daffodils in a beach-themed garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  This treatment looks truly beachy and in the context of the show was marvelous. 
I hope your day is full of bright yellow sunny thoughts, rainbows, hearts, and friggin unicorns.


  1. That's a lovely tradition the daffs and roses. We don't see them a lot in Texas. In colder climates they were a cheerful reminder that winter would end--eventually.

    1. I remember seeing them in one of your posts in which you called them faily rare in your area. Do they not get the winter chill they need there or is it a water thing? It was amazing in your post to see "geraniums for spring." We can't put them out until Mothers' Day!

  2. I love Daffs too, I just planted some last fall for the first time in this garden. I'm looking forward to them flowering now, they're close, but not open yet. They are very bright, cheerful flowers, and common as they are, we need the reminder of spring here, where winter is so gray and wet.

    What nice traditions you have at the school!

    1. Daffodils always make me smile! I'm very lucky to work at a school that 1) is a great place for kids & where they learn, 2) has a staff that cares about kids and each other 3)has lots of nice traditions.

  3. Love that tradition! Did you always know you'd be a teacher? It's a profession that certainly seems to fit you.

    1. Always wanted to do something relating to the arts, studied music and thought briefly of trying to make a living as a singer but saw how difficult it is to seldom be home (you go where the work is.) and how busy you have to be all the time to make a living doing that sort of thing. Started out as a K-12 music, choir and band teacher in a small school district.

  4. The combination of golden daffodils and ultra-blue hyacinths is stunning!

  5. Every year I get too busy with leaf cleanup and never get around to planting bulbs. This year I am going to force myself to at least plant daffs because they are yellow and cheerful and my garden has far too few of them. The friggin unicorns you can keep :).

    1. I need to do the same and maybe more tulips, too. The nurseries are now carrying spring bulbs flowering in pots that can simply be planted now but I hate paying the extra cost for them when the bulbs are relatively inexpensive in the fall!

  6. I love the daffs this time of year! they are like bursts of sunshine. And heaven knows, we need some sunshine!!!

    1. It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow! Yea for sunshine!

  7. Lovely traditions! In German we literally call daffodils "Easter bells" but usually they actually flower much earlier in German. This year, though, they might be right on time there, because apparently it is still quite cold. Here in New England they should in any case be quite punctual.

    1. Such a sweet name, Osterglocken! Hope you have lots of Daffodils for Easter !

  8. That's a lovely tradition Peter. And speaking of daffodil traditions, Gaz gave his mum a pot of tete a tete blooms last Mother's Day as that was their tradition in primary school :)

    1. Gaz is such a nice son! How sweet of him!

  9. What wonderful traditions - to plant daffodils at your school, and a rose for each retiring teacher. I also loved the poem by Wordsworth. The mix of the daffodils with the muscari is just beautiful. I need to steal that idea for somewhere in my garden!

    1. It's a fun tradition although we tase our principal about it and sometimes the bubls have been hidden or kidnapped for a time. We have fun! Steal away!

  10. My daffodils aren't blooming yet but I've seen them blooming in other gardens -- probably sheltered spots.


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