Thursday, March 24, 2011

When the Frost is on the Daffodils...What??

A budding lilac bush in my yard 
on a snowy backdrop
Back in late fall I reprinted a well-known poem called "When The Frost is on the Punkin" by James Whitcomb Riley as kind of a welcome to the coming winter. Well,'ve overstayed your welcome! One thing even a poor gardener like me does NOT want to see when they go out early in the morning in Spring is a layer of snow on the daffodils...and on the crocus.... and on the budding lilac bush!

I wondered if the daffodils would even last until Easter this year given their frosty overcoat for the past two days and I discovered a couple of interesting facts I thought I'd share about the popular member of the Narcissus family:
  • There are over 25,000 varieties of daffodils in colors of yellow, white, orange and peach/pink shade.
  • ALL parts of the daffodil are poisonous.
  • The sap of daffodils can be damaging to other flowers. If you’ve picked them to display in a vase with other flowers, then it’s best to leave them in water on their own for at least 12 hours, before mixing them together.
  • The emblem of Wales is the daffodil. People often wear daffodils on St. David’s Day.
  • Prince Charles, from the British Royal Family, is annually given one daffodil to act as a form of rent for land on the Isles of Scilly.
  • Daffodil bulbs contain a substance called galanthine, which has medicinal properties. In fact, it’s sometimes used in treatments for Alzheimer’s.
  • Daffodils are quite tolerant of cold, especially with a covering of snow, and are grown to the Canadian border. There are a very few exceptions such as the popular Paper White. PHEW!!
There is also a relatively famous poem about daffodils written by William Wordsworth.
I've also included some great flower arrangements that I found online.

"Daffodils" (1804)
By William Wordsworth 

I wandere'd 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 stretch'd 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.

Daffodil bouquets from
Zuzu's Petals

The Metropolitan Museum of Art_ William Morris, Daffodils Plate, circa 1895

A bridesmaid bouquet of daffodils

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