Dazzling Daffodils – The Herald of Spring

At last! A glorious fanfare of trumpeting daffodils is surely one of the most wonderful sights of the year.

After what seems to be the longest and coldest of winters, the sunshine has finally arrived. Spring is here – bringing with it new life, fresh colours and renewed hope for the forthcoming year.

Each year this humble, happy flower heralds a new beginning – a time of awakening. Bright sunlight makes their petals and trumpets glimmer, as if newly polished.

yellow daffodils

When the wind blows, they sway in unison; a jubilant chorus-line, brightening anywhere they choose to dance.

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daffodil blowing in the wind

The daffodil is part of the Narcissus genus, in the Amaryllis family. It is an enduring perennial plant that bursts into flower from a bulb.

With selective cross breeding, there is now an astonishing variety in colour, petal formation and size.

daffodils a sign of spring

Their trumpets may be smooth or frilly and petals long or rounded. Colours range from burnished gold and bright yellows, to delicate custard creams….

different shade of yellow

The smallest and most delicate in the family is the tiny jonquil, not much taller than a blade of grass; it nestles neatly alongside its tiny snowdrop neighbours.

a snowdrop amongst the daffodils
a young daffodil

The Latin name is believed by many to have derived from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who became obsessed by his own reflection whilst kneeling by a pool of water.

Legend says he knelt gazing at himself until he died – either by falling in the pool or by starving to death.

Narcissus flowers then sprang to life on the spot. Others suggest the name may be linked to the narcotic properties of the plant.

Narcissus flowers

These charming flowers have captured the imagination of artists and provided inspiration for poets.

In William Wordsworth’s famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud; he describes them as ‘Fluttering and Dancing in the Breeze’.

The author and poet A.A. Milne (most famous for creating Winnie the Poo) was inspired to write Daffadowndilly, which begins ‘She wore her yellow sun-bonnet’…

In contrast, Ted Hughes’ Daffodils has a far more melancholic tone.

Daffadowndilly by A.A. Milne inspired by daffodils in spring

The daffodil holds much symbolism. For Christians, as an Easter flower it signifies resurrection and new birth. In fact the German word for daffodils Oesterglocken is translated as Easter Bells.

But in the Far East, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the golden flower symbolises prosperity. It has also become a symbol of cancer support charities across the globe, as the uplifting flowers offer such a sense of hope.

cat in the daffodils

And of course, it is a national symbol of Wales – along with the leek – and many people wear a daffodil (or leek!) on March 1st, St David’s Day.

It is likely that the daffodil became a national emblem as a result of the Welsh language itself. The Welsh for leek is Cenhinen, whereas the word for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr – Peter’s leek.

Whilst they both have a green stem and white bulb – the daffodil certainly smells better for the wearer!

Hope they make you smile.

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  1. How beautiful! Daffodils are my favourite flowers. Did you know that the Spanish for daffodil is narciso, like the Greek legend?

  2. Ellen Richards says:

    Absolutely beautiful and one lone snowdrop!

  3. Ellen Richards says:

    Absolutely beautiful and one lone snowdrop!

  4. Britton @ travel Botswana says:

    Wow! they look so lovely and I’m going to remember them in every a spring season.

  5. Sarah Rees says:

    Thank you so much! They’re one of my favourite flowers – along with poppies of course 🙂

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