Tag Archives: daffodil

My Old Friends: From Hyacinth to Birch

Hyacinth

From Poetry of Flowers (A book Emily may have referenced), “Grief: According to mytholgists, this flower sprang from the blood of Hyacinthus, who was killed by a quoit, through the agency of Zephyr, who blew it fom its course as it passed from the hand of Apollo, and smote the unfortunate youth on the head.”

“I wish I could show you the hyacinths that embarrass us by their loveliness.” Emily’s letter to James D Clark.

Hyacinth

I am in love with him
To whom a hyacinth is dearer
Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field-mice
Are abroad, he cannot sleep.
He hears their narrow teeth
At the bulbs of his hyacinths.

But the gnawing at my heart…
He does not hear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

There are so many things to which you could compare a garden, not the least of which is friendship. Each year it comes back, sometimes a little worse for wear, but you have a history–an investment in one another.

The pictures I’m sharing today are from my garden–it’s some of my dear old friends emerging from winter in mid-April 2012. They’re bursting out and embracing the day! Some of them are thriving, some are fighting for their lives.

Royal Star Magnolia (struggling)

Rock Daphne

Leopard’s Bane

Hosta

Forsythia

Daffodils

“Elsa’s Rock” Daffodils to commemorate her death two years ago. What I realized during that time, a great epiphany for me, was that even when we want to hold onto our memories of lost loved ones–and Elsa was very dear to me having been raised from a puppy and sharing my trials and tribulations–our minds let them slip. I was horrified of that. Two weeks after her death, as I stood outside and tried to imagine her, it was hard. Then, a day passed without me thinking of her at all. This rock was placed there, over her burial spot, to remind me to think of her…and to give me a spot to sit while doing that under the Weeping Willow. I planted the daffodils because she died when they were in bloom. Every year they come up, they remind me of my loss–and my loss reminds me of my great gain–having her for thirteen years on this earth.

Daisies–Emily’s nickname was “Daisy”, and she refers to herself as such in the “Master Letters.”

Oh – did I offend it –
Didn’t it want me
to tell it the truth
Daisy – Daisy – offend it – who
bends her smaller life to
his, it’s meeker lower every day –
who only ask – a task –
something to do for
love of it – some little way
she cannot guess to make
that master glad –
A love so big it scares
her, rushing among her small
heart – pushing aside the
blood – and leaving her
faint and white in the
gusts’s arm –
Daisy – who never flinched
thro’ that awful parting –
but held her life so tight
he should not see the
wound – who would have
sheltered him in her
childish Heart – only it was’nt
big eno for a Guest so large –

(Letter 2 1861–Emily to “Master”–actual person is a mystery which stays unsolved.—Word choice changes were chosen by me. Example: bosom/Heart and other ommissions.)

Climbing Hydrangea

Chives

Birch & Pine

A Narcissus is a Daffodil!!

My lone Narcissus, aka: Daffodil

See How she stands by herself, the others beneath her feet–brave girl!

On the American Daffodil Society’s website:

What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?

None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the ADS at all times other than in scientific writing.

 I was driving into my house and passed the Narcissus I planted last year in honor of Emily Dickinson, and I thought, you know those look exactly like my yellow daffodils.  Hmmmm….

So, I came inside and consulted the internet, and Voila! Just call me Einstein!  They are the same thing.

Therefore, it turns out, I planted a whole bunch of daffodils last year! I found a wonderful page on e-How: How to Plant an Emily Dickinson Garden. Check it out!

Another daffodil poem from Emily and then two more from William Wordsworth and Ted Hughes.

I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

“Daffodils” (1804)
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.
Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
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.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Daffodils

by Ted Hughes

Remember how we picked the daffodils?
Nobody else remembers, but I remember.
Your daughter came with her armfuls, eager and happy,
Helping the harvest. She has forgotten.
She cannot even remember you. And we sold them.
It sounds like sacrilege, but we sold them.
Were we so poor? Old Stoneman, the grocer,
Boss-eyed, his blood-pressure purpling to beetroot
(It was his last chance,
He would die in the same great freeze as you) ,
He persuaded us. Every Spring
He always bought them, sevenpence a dozen,
‘A custom of the house’.

Besides, we still weren’t sure we wanted to own
Anything. Mainly we were hungry
To convert everything to profit.
Still nomads-still strangers
To our whole possession. The daffodils
Were incidental gilding of the deeds,
Treasure trove. They simply came,
And they kept on coming.
As if not from the sod but falling from heaven.
Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we’d live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing.
So we sold them. We worked at selling them
As if employed on somebody else’s
Flower-farm. You bent at it
In the rain of that April-your last April.
We bent there together, among the soft shrieks
Of their jostled stems, the wet shocks shaken
Of their girlish dance-frocks-
Fresh-opened dragonflies, wet and flimsy,
Opened too early.

We piled their frailty lights on a carpenter’s bench,
Distributed leaves among the dozens-
Buckling blade-leaves, limber, groping for air, zinc-silvered-
Propped their raw butts in bucket water,
Their oval, meaty butts,
And sold them, sevenpence a bunch-

Wind-wounds, spasms from the dark earth,
With their odourless metals,
A flamy purification of the deep grave’s stony cold
As if ice had a breath-

We sold them, to wither.
The crop thickened faster than we could thin it.
Finally, we were overwhelmed
And we lost our wedding-present scissors.

Every March since they have lifted again
Out of the same bulbs, the same
Baby-cries from the thaw,
Ballerinas too early for music, shiverers
In the draughty wings of the year.
On that same groundswell of memory, fluttering
They return to forget you stooping there
Behind the rainy curtains of a dark April,
Snipping their stems.

But somewhere your scissors remember. Wherever they are.
Here somewhere, blades wide open,
April by April
Sinking deeper
Through the sod-an anchor, a cross of rust.

Ted Hughes

First Day of Spring and First Flowers: Crocus & Snowdrops

The first day of Spring was a few days ago and it went unnoticed, I’m sad to say, on this blog.

I think today we should celebrate Snowdrops and Crocus–the earliest of bloomers; yet, almost the only types of flowers I have not had the privilege of planting. I went to a local store a few weeks ago to get bulbs, but they didn’t have Snowdrops and they had sold out of Crocus. My husband’s daughter, however, had beautiful Crocus and Snowdrops in her garden when we drove to see them yesterday.

The Crocus:

The feet of people walking home
With gayer sandals go-
The Crocus-till she rises
The Vassal of the snow-

Emily Dickinson (further reading click link to my blog post about The Crocus)

Interesting note: The Greek word “krokos” means “saffron”.

My goal: Get Crocus and Snowdrops in 2010. In fact, I’ll make a list of plants I want to acquire so that I won’t forget at the end of the growing season.

I’ve seen a lot of poems referring to crocus as the first flower of spring, but isn’t the snowdrop the first flower of spring? So, those poems should read, Ah, the crocus, second flower... Check out the weekend gardener for confirmation of this fact and a list of the earliest blooming flowers.

Now, to what is growing in my garden–the mid-Spring bloomers: tulips and daffodils.

The beginning of Columbine’s return–a good memory for me now.

I believe these are the beginnings of my chives, but at this point, I would be very much afraid to “taste” that theory.

Fern:

Leopard’s Bane

Hosta:

What I’m getting ready to plant:

I have a very large rock planter in front of the house that I didn’t get to last year.

I’m getting ready to plant it as soon as we get the top soil brought in and mixed with the wonderful, aged cow manure we got from our neighbor the other day.

This will be a colorful assortment of flowers arranged around, what I think may be a quaking aspen. I’m not positive, though, about the tree choice. Here are some of the bulbs–peony, echinacea, lilies, clematis:

And some hollyhock seeds my dad gave me at the end of last year. I’m not sure how I’ll start them.

Maybe like my son did. These are his flowers and herbs he grew in school and gave to me a couple of weeks ago with the request: please keep them alive. So far, so good.

Any crocus in your part of the world? Snowdrops? Any plants from last year coming to life?

Happy Spring gardening adventures!

Hyacinth in Spring

Spring comes on the World-
I sight the Aprils-
Hueless to me until thou come
As, till the bee
Blossoms stand negative,
Touched to Conditions
By a Hum.

Dickinson 1042

That has always been one of my favorite Dickinson poems. It’s a beautiful love poem–for a person (?), a flower (?), an animal (?)–fill in the blank with whatever you love.

April 6, 2009
Weather–Sunny & warm

I’ve been shopping.

group-of-pots

These are new members of my family–Daffodils, Hyacinth, Tulip, Raspberry, Blueberry, Dianthus, Forsynthia, Snowflake….

group-of-pots-2

Hyacinth–Marta says they were in Emily’s Early Spring Garden. (p.14)

And, Judith Farr writes in her book, “Flowers were her children, friends, and counterparts. They had souls and played a role in the Christian mystery of death and resurrection. Thus, when a neighbor, Mrs. Adelaide Hills, sent her hyacinth bulbs during a dark February when her own plants were dead or dormant, Emily envisioned the “sleeping” Dickinson garden as the scriptural kingdom of the dead, arisen and transfigured on the Last Day. ‘The Snow will guide the Hyacinths to where their mates are sleeping, in Vinnie’s Garden.'” (p. 23)

–Marta McDowell believes the reference to Vinnie is that Vinnie planted them.

hyacinth

Here are my new pink Hyacinth–the spike says they grow to about 12″ and need about 12″ wide. They need part sun and a medium amount of water. “Wonderfully fragrant blooms provides a treat for the senses.” I can’t wait to plant them!

We’re getting our top soil delivered in the next day or two. We need a lot of it.

Here are some other flowers I purchased. Daffodils.

daffodil

Dianthus.

dianthus

Forsynthia bush (not the tree–which I also need). But I love the yellow of Forsynthia–these shrubs will be great.

forsynthia-bush

Red Tulips.

tulips

Yellow Tulips.

yellow-tulips

And the fruit bushes were chosen by Shiloh, my little Pastry Chef–who loves to bake–and recently, bake pies.

blueberry

raspberry

Last Saturday we had our Palisades Park Fundraiser, and I was in charge of getting door prizes. I purchased a small Hyacinth, Daffodil and Tulip–as well as other prizes. The flowers were the first things to be chosen as names were drawn. In fact, they passed on more expensive prizes for the flowers. What does that say about them? Something good, I think.

Have you adopted a new flower, shrub or tree lately?