A Lone Daffodil

by Mary Reed

Wordsworth’s poem relates how he saw a host of golden daffodils growing wild in the Lake District, but we city dwellers had to purchase the yellow trumpetted flowers at the greengrocers.

Each spring, my mother bought the first bunch of daffies she saw. They went into a truly hideous green jug made of a chalky material which she had had for decades. There are two of these jugs and two matching wall vases, so my guess is they must be of 1930s or 1940s vintage. I have them the set now, among the few personal possessions I brought with me when I emigrated.

After a move south from Newcastle, we lived in a house with a garden featuring numerous clumps of daffodils but strangely none of them were never cut for display. Perhaps it was enough to see them outside?

Thus daffie-down-dillies always remind me of my mother.

Fast forward some years. In the house I then occupied, the back fence was set away from the easement between our garden and that of the house backing on it. The spring after my mother died, a single daffodil appeared in the easement just on the other side of our fence — yet there were none in gardens in the immediate neighbourhood.

The logical explanation is a daffodil bulb was buried by a foraging squirrel and yet its location in a sort of no man’s land between two dwellings catches the attention and causes speculation…


Mary Reed is the co-author of the John the Lord Chamberlain mysteries set in sixth century Byzantium. The current entry is Nine for the Devil.

You can also follow Mary on Twitter.

4 Responses to A Lone Daffodil

  1. Two little verses about daffodils, The first is a Mother Goose rhyme

    “Daffadowndilly is come up to town
    In a yellow petticoat and a green gown.:

    The second is a parody on Wordsworth:

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er dales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils.
    Allergic as I am to these,
    Forthwith did I begin to sneeze.

    I like daffs, but we have irises out front now, and they’re nice too.

  2. I just love daffodils, Mary. They signal the post-winter rebirth to me. On my farm I find them springing up in the strangest places…around the pond, on a hillside, in the middle of a pasture. How they get there I never know. I’m just thankful that they do.

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