Yesterday I mentioned that it is possible to visit William Wordsworth’s birthplace in the Lake District of Northwest England on a Literary Tour. One of his most famous poems, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, which just celebrated it’s 200th anniversary, included these lines in the first verse:
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.
Daffodils are one of the most wonderful sights of spring, a sign of beauty, hope and renewal after a cold, damp and dark winter. Not only can you find their lovely flowers in profusion throughout Britain, the Welsh national flower is also the daffodil and an important part of celebrating St David’s Day on March 1st. For more on St David see my St David’s Cathedral blog. Daffodils, genus narcissus, family, amarylllidaceae, appear to be native throughout much of Northern Europe, but their first home was in North Africa and Southern Europe. The Romans brought the plant to the British Isles almost two thousand years ago, when it was being used for its medicinal properties. However, the colors and beauty of the plant soon became known and it was being extensively cultivated in the Netherlands by the 16th century. Interestingly, while daffofils are famous for being a ‘bulb’ plant, it is also possible for it to be insect-pollinated. The name daffodil is thought to come from the word Asphodel, another popular garden plant. Today of course, the daffodil has been completely naturalized throughout Great Britain.
Fun Fact: Easton Walled Garden in Lincolnshire has s collection of 15,000 beautiful daffodils.
Extra Fun Fact: The narcissus also signifies the beginning of the New Year in Iranian culture.
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