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.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched 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,
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 in 1804

The following is an inspiring story I hope you will take time to read about a garden in California. It is from one of the e-mails that circulates.

The Daffodil Principle
By Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world ...

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting.....

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don't need money.
Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching.

If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special.

I just did!

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

(Author: Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards)

January 27, 2007

Dividing Daffodils

The daffodils and other Narcissuses at Crocker Croft need dividing and resetting; they are way too thick.

There comes a time when these bulbs multiply to the point they are too crowded. It is said they "go to grass", meaning they make a lot of foliage and fewer blooms. This was apparent the past two springs.

When this happens, the bulbs should be dug out (lifted), cleaned enough to see what you are doing, and then separated. For the best show, the largest bulbs should be replanted. Then comes the dilemma: What to do with the small bulbs that are left over.

Our choices are limited. As I see it, they are:

(1) New baby bulbs - the offsets of the parents - of course, can be thrown in the trashcan if one can bear to do that. If not....

(2) they can be planted out somewhere they will receive sunshine and be allowed to grow unnoticed for a few years. During that time, their foliage acts as solar collectors until they are mature enough, and have collected and stored enough energy in their expanding bulbs, until some spring they will burst forth in joyful blossoming. Or....

(3) if there is enough square footage of earth, they can be planted in among the large bulbs, but with plenty of space between all of them so they can be allowed to grow without having to be disturbed again for several years. Then there is my favorite....

(4) the bulbs of all sizes can be shared with other gardeners... one would think so. But, when I have had surplus bulbs and offered them bare, I couldn't give them away. No one was interested. So, I potted them up in good, sharply draining potting material and compost mix, thinking I would keep them watered and hold them over until I could find them a new home.

The problem has been that I haven't been able to find any "takers". No one wanted them. So, back in the ground they go. Those were just the times when bulbs were unearthed during the process of planting new plants. Everywhere we dig in this old garden there are bulbs. I can only imagine what a major renevation will be like.


The lifting, dividing, and resetting in this baked clay is very work intensive. But I plan to try. Hopefully, one shovel load at a time and one bulb at a time, eventually, we, too, will be able to have a "host of daffodils" and a garden that is a testament to what can be accomplished bit by bit by determined people keeping at it…. whatever, "It" is.

My definition of "Perky" is "Narcissus".

If options are available, it is a good idea to consider views from windows while remembering the flowers will face the sun. Talking Northern Hemisphere here - if the window is north of the plants they will face away toward the sun, if south of the plants, they will face the direction of the window. Many times we have no choice, but the difference could be something like the following. These white Narcissuses are facing the sun away from us.

I had rather they face the window a little more like these, if possible, if not... it is time to grab a sweater and take a walk to admire spring faces from another direction. The fresh air will do us good, and spring passes by too quickly. Let's catch it while we can!

If You Are Ever In Texas

A notable Texas daffodil garden, if you are ever in that neighborhood at the right time of spring... http://www.daffodilgarden.com/daffodils_home.htm