Daffodils for Days and Days

It’s usually around this time of year when I write something about hope. The winter always feels long and each year I find myself waiting for spring with open arms. However, March can be a tease and this year it has certainly not arrived with the warm weather we all have been waiting for. Instead, we have been more sodden than sunny, wading through puddles and waiting for the sun to warm us again. Despite the less than desirable weather, the daffodils have begun to emerge and, in so doing, they encourage us all with their own sunny countenances. 

Narcissus ‘Rapture’

Narcissus ‘Rapture’ is among the first daffodils to bloom each spring. Even though bright yellow is not my favorite color in the garden, I would never be without ‘Rapture’. From the recurved petals that seem almost as though they have been blown by the wind for a photoshoot to the downward tilt of the entire flowers as if to demure from the attention, I am thoroughly charmed by ‘Rapture’ in the gardens.

Narcissus ‘White Petticoat’

Another lovely diminutive daffodil currently in bloom is this Narcissus ‘White Petticoat’, which can be found in the gardens surrounding the Visitor’s Center. ‘White Petticoat’ is a new addition this year and has earned itself a sweet little spot in my heart. Perhaps you will feel the same when you visit Blithewold for our Daffodil Days.

Narcissus obvallaris by pond

In my time at school many years ago, I recall learning about Narcissus in Greek mythology. He was cursed and ended up falling in love with his own image after seeing it reflected in a pool of water. In some versions of the myth, he dies in that very spot and becomes a white and yellow flower. There is some debate as to whether or not that is the origin of the flower name Narcissus (for daffodil). Be that as it may, I could not help but think of the Greek myth when I saw Narcissus obvallaris reflected in our pond in the Water Garden. I wonder if it is also in love with its own beautiful reflection?

I’m sure these next featured plants would fall in love with themselves if they could only see their own beauty. False spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia) has the most lovely emerging foliage in the spring. Each leaf unfurls with delicacy, yet it reveals vibrant hues of green and pink that can’t help but bring a cheerfulness to any gray day. Nearby in the North Garden Fritillaria ‘Early Fantasy’ has begun to bloom. Fritillaria are certainly one of the early harbingers of spring in the display gardens. The apricot-peach color is a perfect foil for shades of yellow and chartreuse that often dominate early spring.

Speaking of chartreuse, there is no missing the stunning spurge ‘Shorty’ that is blooming in the North and Display Gardens. At this point in its bloom looking rather like an emu’s ruffled neck feathers, the glaucous foliage remains from last year’s growth and the chartreuse flowers develop only on these older shoots.

Narcissus ‘Cragford’ preparing to bloom

There is so much beauty here at Blithewold just waiting to appear over the coming weeks. With the 50,000 new daffodils and other spring bulbs we planted last fall, the display should last 6-8 weeks. While I am sure there will always be an absolute “perfect” time to visit, I encourage you to let go of the perfect and allow yourself to see the beauty all around you no matter when you visit. There will be more to see and experience this year than ever before. 

We look forward to seeing you on the grounds soon!