As the renovation of the property proceeded ever so slowly at the beginning of 2001, the property next door was readied for demolition. It was to be a garage with living space above, to be joined to the main house at some future date. Growing right at the foundation of the porch of that small, cinder block structure was a dense row of daffodil foliage, seemingly coming right from under the structure. Those bulbs had no flowers or buds to help identify them, but they were recognized as daffodils by the narrow foliage. The shovel was thrust as deeply as possible into the wintered soft earth to yield hundreds of tiny bulbs. They were thick as lawn grass fed with high octane fertilizer, too crowded to be able to produce flower buds. A trench was dug at the far edge of the slope and the little bulbs were planted there with more spacing until permanent locations could be found for them.
Time passed and the next spring saw the flowers of these rescued daffodils. The bloom time was extremely early, the beginning of February. It was at least two weeks ahead of any other daffodils and the search was on to try and identify them. The first named variety that seemed to match up was Narcissus Rjinveld’s Early Sensation, but the lighter colored twisting outer petals of our foundlings were not quite the same as those of Rjinveld.
More reading and studying led us to an article about the early and prolific blooming of Narcussus psuedonarcissus in the tribal lands of Oklahoma. Click here to read it. It was written that the belief is that these daffodils were carried with the Cherokees when they were forced from their lands near the Appalachian mountains in Tennessee and elsewhere to designated Indian land in Northeast Oklahoma. This march was a horrendous injustice called the Trail Of Tears. A very precise explanation of this travesty can be read by clicking here.
Even more research revealed that the beginning of this cruel journey was very near to where we now live, just a few miles away, in fact. These same daffodils are now in bloom everywhere in and around my small southern town, including on wooded land where there are no homes. Imagining that these could possibly be the same type of daffodil carried by people who loved them on their forced trek is both sobering and inspiring. I was born and raised in Northeast Oklahoma, coincidentally.
These daffodils, whatever they may be, are not the prettiest nor the tallest nor the smallest, but they are by far the most beloved of them all for their very early and very prolific bloom time. They have been spread across most of the back gardens, with the dividing done in late winter rather than the fall as most garden articles advise. A how to post about that was written a couple of years ago that can be seen by clicking here. This year the spreading has crossed into the front gardens as well. There cannot be too many daffodils, especially this one. Whether this is truly N. psuedonarcissus may never be known, but in my heart, they represent something that lives strong in all gardeners, whatever their situation. The need to plant and to grow.
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*The sweet European native Narcissus pseudonarcissus that was growing wild on our property is to be considered part of my friend Gail’s Wildflower Wednesday offerings for February 2013. Please do go check out her blog to see what else might catch your fancy.