After the crocus have emerged through the thawing soil and before the garden explodes in many colors; daffodils stretch and open their bright sunny blooms reflecting a smile upon my winter-weary face. I smile seeing that last year’s single daffodil has become three blooms this year. Naturalizing is the term used to describe this tendency. For me it means my hardy bulbs are content in the habitat of my garden, having all their needs met to allow them to grow and flourish for many years. One reason for their survival is that they are unpalatable for deer and squirrel, the main guests that feast in my garden unlike tulips whose blooms tend to signal the squirrels that a treat lies below.
Daffodil’s other name, Narcissus, derives from the Greek work “narke” meaning sleep numbness. One of the myths of origin is that Narcissus was in love with his own beauty and upon observing his reflection in a pond, could not stop looking at his handsome self and there he remained forever. My blooms flourish because my garden is officially apart of a wetland. Unlike Narcissus of myth, when in bloom, my soul is awakened to do the many chores I put to the side during the grey days of winter. Wadsworth, when viewing daffodils, said “a poet could not but be gay”. This is the time of new beginnings inspired from emerging nature’s beauty.
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.