Posted by: marymarthatours | March 28, 2012

Wordsworth’s Daffodils and Mine, 2012

There were daffodils blooming in my 2012 Minnesota garden on March 21st, the first day of spring. That may not seem unusual in some parts of the country, but it’s not normally spring here on that date. Often we’re still coping with snow and cold. But this year we’ve had very little snow and in mid-March we broke all kinds of high temperature records. The earliest I’ve seen daffodils in my yard in the past was the first week of April. But here she is, the first “Accent” daffodil of the season welcoming the spring.

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The great English poet, William Wordsworth and I have something in common — we both love daffodils. Wordsworth wrote his famous poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (commonly known as “Daffodils”), in 1804. At that time, he was living at Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the English Lake District. According to his sister Dorothy, she and William were walking near Ullswater when they saw a long belt of daffodils blooming under the trees along the shore of the lake.

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English Spring Daffodils (photo by Patrick Mackie)

Wordsworth described the sight with a poet’s eye and sensitivity.

I wander’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.

The daffodils in my garden aren’t quite that rampant, but I love the color and fragrance (yes, some daffs are scented) they bring to my garden in the spring. I grow a number of daffodil varieties, including some of Wordsworth’s golden ones, but my favorites are the white ones. I’m eagerly awaiting the blooming of some new bulbs planted last fall after our return from our Gardens of Ireland Tour. In honor of Irish daffodil hybridizer, Guy Wilson, I planted a big bunch of his pink and white beauty named “Passionale”.

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“Accent”, “Bell Song”, and “Thalia” Daffodils in my spring garden

And even though the numbers of my daffodils are limited, I can totally understand what Wordsworth meant in the last stanza of “Daffodils”.

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.

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We won’t see daffodils when the England in Miniature Tour visits Dove Cottage in Grasmere this September. But we will have a chance to see the house where the poem was written and to see the gorgeous countryside that inspired Wordsworth’s many works. I can’t wait.

Dove Cottage (photo by Christine Hasman)

(by Mary)

Full text of “I Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud”: www.blupete.com/Literature/Poetry/WordsworthDaffodils.htm

My favorite bulb supplier: www.johnscheepers.com

Photo of daffodils on bank: copyright Patrick Mackie and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Photo of Dove Cottage: copyright Christine Hasman and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license.

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Responses

  1. Fun to read the poems and visualize the perky daffodils!


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