Daffodils: Inspiration, Creativity, New beginning

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Daffodils feature green leaves and large yellow flowers. Furthermore, they are the first batch of flowers to blossom after the winter snow as if they have just opened their eyes and gazed at the sky during spring. Hence, they are called “The Eye Of The Garden”. Furthermore, they also have a long life span, perhaps to witness the birth and the funeral of a boy.

A long history of cultivation

Daffodils have a long history of cultivation and are a world-famous bulbous flower. In the 16th century, the Dutch began to grow daffodils. Since the 1930s, great efforts have been made in the breeding and variety improvement of daffodils.

The long history of breeding and cultivation has created thousands of different varieties. Presently, more than 32,000 varieties of daffodils have been registered in the international market, and new varieties are introduced every year.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

At the end of the 19th century, the daffodil has become an important ornamental plant in western Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century, 50 million Narcissus tazetta ‘Paperwhite’ bulbs were exported from the Netherlands to the United States every year.

The Royal Horticultural Society has always been an important factor in the promotion of Narcissus. In 1884, the Royal Horticultural Society held the first daffodil conference. In 1898, the world’s first organization devoted to the cultivation of daffodils, The Daffodil Society, was founded in Birmingham.

Other countries followed suit such as The American Daffodil Society, founded in 1954, who published the quarterly magazine Daffodil Journal, which turned out to be an excellent trade journal.

Daffodils in mythologies and arts

Since ancient times, daffodils have been associated with many mysterious stories and literary works. In Greek culture, daffodils appear in two Greek and Roman mythologies. In one, the young Narcissus has transformed into a daffodil because of his infatuation with his reflection in the water, which made Narcissu become the genus name of the daffodil. In the other, the goddess Persephone was captured into the underworld by Hades while picking the flower. Narcissus was considered sacred to Hades and Persephone and grew on the banks of the Styx river.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Many British writers mentioned the cultural and symbolic significance of Narcissus. The poems of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats all contain the poetic description of Narcissus. Among them, William Wordsworth’s 1804 short poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud” is still popular to this day.

Narcissus also appears in many fascinating paintings.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Vincent van Gogh: Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Jan van Scorel: Madonna of the Daffodils with the Child and Donors, 1535

Not only the national flower of Wales but also a powerful tool

As one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, the Welsh have always used leeks (Cenhinen) as their national symbol since the Middle Ages. However, in Welsh, leeks, and daffodils (Cenhinen Bedr) are easily confused. Hence, in 1907, daffodils simply replaced leeks and became the national flower of Wales. Every year, on March 1st, Welsh men and women wear daffodils or leeks to celebrate Saint David’s day.

In the American fantasy movie “Big Fish” released in 2003, the hero Edward used a sea of 10,000 daffodils to pursue Sandra, the woman with whom he falls in love with at first sight. This wonderful proposal contributed to the film’s timeless and famous scenes.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils
What? There are people eating daffodils?

In 2014, NPIS received 27 cases of poisoning caused by eating daffodils by mistake, with almost all of them comprising of overseas students from the East. We know that daffodils contain many poisonous alkaloids, such as lycorine, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, and spasms after consumption. If not treated in time, there is a risk of death.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Freshly cut daffodils in buds sold in store

British residents might be shocked as to why these students would eat such a poisonous garden plant. Later, the investigation results showed that this was because the daffodils sold as fresh cut flowers in the supermarket really looked like the traditional oriental food garlic moss, which they would eat with fried bacon. 

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

Garlic moss, the flower stem drawn out from garlic

Now, in order to avoid the recurrence of poisoning, the British public health agency has banned supermarkets from selling cut daffodils in their vegetable sections.

Can I grow a decent daffodil?

Daffodils are very easy to grow and as long as they are buried in the soil 2-4 weeks before the soil freezes in winter, you can just rest and watch it bloom. Avoid planting different kinds of daffodils in the same area of land, because what is left after the flowers bloom are unpleasant yellow leaves. Try planting daffodils with some perennial plants, or other flowering plants, so that there are flowers to enjoy all year round.

Flower of the Week: Daffodils

It should be noted that daffodils are still slightly toxic. It is recommended to wear gloves when planting to avoid direct contact.

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and half as wide

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 8

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Rich and moist,slightly acidic to neutral

Bloom time: Spring