Saving the Daffodils, Continuing the Story

by - March 20, 2019

We live in a transitional neighborhood where houses are regularly either being gutted and flipped or being torn down replaced with shiny new houses. There is a series of lots that have sat empty for the past year or two and in one of those lots, there was a beautiful clump of yellow daffodils. A year passed since I noticed them and all this past month I’ve eagerly awaited their return, not sure if they had already been plowed over and not remembering which lot they were actually on.

Finally, two weeks ago I spotted them just in front of an orange silt-fence next to an old tree stapled with “private property” signs. I looked up the realtor and made a phone call to inquire if I could “save the daffodils.” After a bit of back and forth about which lot I was looking at, she said it would be fine. I dug up two grocery bags of flowers, planted most of them near my mailbox and handed off a few more to my neighbor to plant in his yard. I went back a couple days later to grab a couple more stay ones for a friend.

I think I’ve shared before how I love having stories connected with plants, and these daffodils will probably be some of my favorites. The plants that have stories act as a tether from my heart to the soil and to other people. As much as I enjoy the surprise of not remembering what I’ve planted until it returns in the spring, I also enjoy the dependability of those that were acquired and planted with intention. I don’t know that I will ever be able to move out of our house for that very reason… not without leaving an abundance of holes in the ground where I’ve had to dig up my memories.

What is a mystery to me is that our house was built in 2000, and before that, the land sat unused for many years. When we moved in in 2007, there was very little landscaping. However, as we removed pine trees a couple years later, there were some strange daffodils that looked nothing like those I was used to seeing. After searching through imagines online, I suspect the variety is "Van Sion". Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs has a fun write-up on the variety and it's history, and I'd say the year to year variation in its bloom seems spot on with the description. I've moved them to a new area of the yard and am excited to see them thriving, even if I'll never know the story behind them. Who planted them? Did my neighbors plant them there under the pines when the lot was empty? I will have to share some bulbs with a friend to keep the story going.

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