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Dancing Daffodils

“Find a grove of daffodils in an abandoned field and you have discovered a treasure trove of family history.”

I once lived on a 5 acre farm that was part of a 300 acre parcel my husband’s family owned. We would often take long walks across his brother and uncle’s property dotted with cows and old abandoned cars, looking for treasures and watching out for perilous wells, careful not to fall. One early spring we came upon a knoll covered in hundreds of yellow daffodils. It took my breath away. What an arresting sight! My husband then told the story of the large family that once lived there.

The dancing daffodils that someone had planted nearly a hundred years ago was the only marker left of their history. To honor their memory and ensure their future we dug up a few clumps to transplant to our own garden. Their memory lives on.

When I think of planting daffodils, I think of the past. I come from a long line of farmers and gardeners and fisherman going as far back as the 1600’s when my ancestors set sail on The Mayflower and were greeted by my other Native American ancestors.

When I was a little girl I would pick daffodils from a neighbors field to give to my mom on May Day - a practice where children fill a basket with flowers to place by their mother’s front door, ring the bell and then run away and hide. I don’t know if children do this anymore, but I still remember the look of joy and surprise on my mother’s face when she opened the door and discovered my hand-made basket filled with golden daffodils .

The daffodil was also the subject of many poets, from Shakespeare to William Wordsworth in his poem “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud”

That Floats on high o’er vales and hills

When all at once I saw a cloud

A host of golden daffodils

Beside the lake beneath the trees

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

There are many types of daffodils {narcissus} from the tiny sweet-smelling jonquils that start blooming in February to the larger King Alfred’s. They are all deer resistant and will spread and multiply for many years to come. They also come in other colors from white to apricot and even pink varieties. Plant your bulbs three times their depth and after they bloom be sure to leave the foliage until it dies back.

The daffodil reminds us of our rural past, driving down long and dusty roads, past farms and fields of daffodils. It is sure to bring a smile to your face in remembrance of the past and our future to come.

By Dianna Hrutfjord, October 2021

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