Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Daffodils...One Preppy's Musings

Pretty Miss Daffy-down-Dilly of the children's daffodil nursery rhyme
So enjoying bouquets of daffodils here on the island this spring

Two Springs Ago... daffodils by Westminster Abbey in London and...

...last Spring, daffodils foreground, the Eiffel Tower in the background

Lachlan enjoying floral-elegance Parisian styled... tres' jolie, oui?!

And again in Paris- right down from our hotel, so daffodil pretty

This past Saturday: island daffodils for a community fundraiser party

Could there be any better harbinger of early Spring than the cheery sunlight-bright and whimsically trumpet-like daffodil?

Heralding the warming of weather, daffodils have ever-captured the imagination of painters, poets, photographers, children's book illustrators, fashion designers and textile designers and interior designers and jewelry designers and porcelain designers and...so forth and so on.

Daffodils are a solid part of what I think of as the creative-life ethos. Things pretty, things artistic, things uniquely designed and inspiring. Even their scent is distinctive: hard to describe but a lot less floral-ly than other spring flowers.

There hasn't been a time in my life when I haven't really adored the delightful daffodil.

My earliest memory of being conscious of daffodils was an illustration of a pretty lady named "Daffy-down-Dilly" in a children's' nursery rhyme book we had. The rhyme went like this: Daffy-down-Dilly/Has come to town/With a yellow petticoat/And a pretty green gown/Daffy-down-Dilly.

Later on, much later on, I would go on into adulthood having my own gardens surrounding cottages (three so far: NC, UT and now here in SC) into which I planted and continue to plant various bulbs. Out in Park City, Utah on a steep mountainside, I had (so far) the most daffodils. Both in the small yard of our tiny restored miner's cottage and across the way in a grassy lot. I also enjoy potting them for indoors winter blooming.

The late great interior designer Eleanor McMillan Brown declared that every room should have some yellow in it and I concur wholeheartedly!

In North Carolina, we not only had a buttery yellow master bedroom and bath bordered with glossy white wood molding trim, we also had our cottage house's exterior painted yellow flanked by a white Victorian columned n' curlicued-trim porch. Viva yellow....yes....

Endearing daffodils further into my personal psyche' was the poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth. Unforgettable are his last lines, "And then my heart with pleasure fills/And dances with the daffodils."

But also in his first stanza are the verses, "When at once I saw a crowd,/A host of golden daffodils;/Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/Fluttering and dancing in the breeze" which so reminds me of the above picture from James and my jaunt over to London two springs ago where we were walking along a park near Westminster Abbey and seemingly-suddenly were treated to a dazzling spread of daffodils across the already brilliant green lawn which is so indicative of English parks.

Another trip to England, a few years earlier with my late mother, found me enjoying the picturesque Lake District with her where we stopped by Wordsworth's cottage and may have even walked along the very pathway wherein he was inspired to write this poem as he took a walk with his sister one day back in 1804.

Last spring, James and I spent a week thoroughly enjoying Paris. The only flowering happening then was forsythia bushes and loads of daffodils.....very lovely against the soft gray skies, architecturally-trimmed dark green boxwood bushes and the black ironwork that is structuring this iconic city of light. I always enjoy the bareness of winter and early spring: the simplicity and honesty of such distillment contrasted to the plethora of imagery, layering and colors which is later spring on into summer and autumn. All seasons are wonderful but there is something about Early-Spring that's both quietly restive to me and yet oddly inspiring as well.

Also inspiring is how the daffodil flower can be both casual-elegant and utterly-elegant.

The best way to describe this is to talk about two of the pictures above: one is of an arrangement example from a wonderful fundraiser which a community volunteer group I belong to just did via a party by the marsh- daffodils plunked into large glass Mason canning jars weighted by gilded oyster shells. The other is from one of my Paris trip pictures- a huge ornate urn dripping with daffodils. Both lovely, and such very different ways in which daffodils can be enjoyed.

Ah, so please do enjoy the daffodils of this springtime....I literally can't get enough of them!


  1. I definitely agree that every room should have some yellow in it, and daffodils are perfect! The secretary at our school has a bunch of them on her desk, and they always brighten my day when I go by.

  2. So pretty and the pictures are stunning...especially the urn with the daffodils..wow! Why does everything and I do mean everything look better on Parisian soil:) Just something about that France........
    Agreed about the daffodils they are so pretty, cheery and perky....they add instant life and punch to any room or setting and I always buy four or five pots and plant them in this big basket and put it in the kitchen so we get to enjoy them every day!
    Heres to spring!!

  3. Hi LC! That's wonderful...to pass by and so enjoy those daffodils each time, love it! I wonder if she knows how many people's days she's brightened? :)

    Enjoy the Spring that's starting to show up lately and all the best to you, Lachlan

  4. Hi enchanted home! I know...you're so right...the French can make burlap bags look oh, so tres' chic :) Even a year later, I'm still looking back at my photos and sketches from Paris and getting inspiration.

    LOVE your own chic use of daffodils in your kitchen- what a great idea and I can just imagine the yellow-impact that has with using them clustered in a large basket- terrific!!!

    Best as always to you from here, Lachlan

  5. Thank you for sharing your daffodils!

  6. You're very welcome jayneonweedstreet :) It was such a pleasure to mull awhile about daffodils!

    Best you and Happy Spring, Lachlan