Dances with daffodils

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.

– William Wordsworth, “The Daffodils”

Wordsworth is not the only one whose heart dances with daffodils. I fell in love with fall bulbs this spring when the tulips sprung out from my lawn in purple and red and yellow. They are still there, lurking in the ground and I hopefully see them again come spring. But this year, I planted daffodils – one hundred bulbs which should turn, magically, into those dancing white and yellow flowers.

Stacked in my garage were the boxes of bulbs. Daffodils, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Muscari, Irises of all kinds – Dutch iris, Bearded iris and Siberian iris and of course, the tulips. They had waited patiently through all summer, and survived the cold winter too, and it seemed cruel to ask them to sit out through another year. They had to be planted this Fall.

Planting in the perennial bed is so much easier than what we did last year – plant the tulips right in the lawn bordering the driveway. R and I cut tens of little holes in the lawn and it was really time consuming and not much fun. We ended up planting most of the tulips, but gave up on all the other bulbs. But all that effort was forgotten when we saw the tulips shoot up from the lawn, one by one.

When I wrote in April about eagerly waiting for my tulips to flower, Space Bar wanted pictures of the tulips. So, this one is for you, Space Bar 🙂

In our misguided enthusiasm and certain ignorance, we had planted some of the tulips in a ring around the large electrical box in the yard. We somehow thought these tulips would hide that monstrosity. It didn’t strike us then, that tulip plants are all flowers and hardly any leaves. You can easily mistake a tulip plant for a cut flower, with its long, single stem decorated with a few leaves and a single large, bright flower. The lawn looked like someone had buried vases of cut flowers in the ground.

When the tulips came out, even the ugly box in the background could not do much to diminish their raw beauty. They weren’t tall enough or bushy enough to hide that box, but they formed a beautiful necklace around it, in pink and yellow and red, and the beautiful purple tulip that was my favorite.

Meanwhile, the tulips planted in the flower bed did their best to bring some color to the otherwise drab looking bed that was filled with buried perennials still waking from their winter sleep, which hadn’t even started putting out leaves or shoots. This year, the bushy daylilies have grown bigger and the mulch is fresher, so it should be even more beautiful if the tulips flower again.

This year, the backyard perennial bed is a big savior. In every clear patch of brown dirt, I saw a home for a bunch of yellow daffodils, or paperwhite narcissus, or alliums or hyacinths. I planted bulbs in all the spaces between plants- most of my perennials will not start growing until late spring, while the bulbs will be up and flowering in early spring and start fading out by summer. That’s the plan, anyway.

I don’t like planting bulbs in straight lines, although some of this spring’s tulips did end up looking like they were going to march down to the road. I planted the daffodils in circles – eight of them per circle, seven in the circumference and one in the center, as if they were playing a game of dodge ball. If they stop playing games and come up in spring, I should get a bright swathe of color.

I have finished planting most of the bulbs. There are still a few laggards, like the Narcissus that are probably busy looking at their own reflections, but these too will go into the ground soon.

All that is left to do now, is to wait through the long winter and hope that when spring comes, my daffodils will dance.

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15 thoughts on “Dances with daffodils

  1. Beautiful tulips!
    Though I must confess..I can’t tell tulips from daffodils at all! Thats my mom’s domain. She loves her jasmines and parijats 😀

    Not too long ago, I doubt if I could have told you the difference between a daffodil and a dandelion either 😉

  2. @ Lekhni
    Nice tulips! You seem to be an admirably keen gardener. If you lived here, the nation of gardeners, you could compete with my neighbours and their strawberries and apples as well as flowers 😉 As things stand, when she is in my kitche, she looks at my unkempt garden and sighs – I don’t know if it is dismay or envy at someone being able to ignore gardens and letting them grow like Mary’s.

    When I first came to live in Europe, I arrived in Holland and saw first hand Keukenhof, which is to tulips what Chanel is to classic dressing. Now of course England. Strangely in the last decade or so, I notice bulbs appearing sooner and sooner each year. This year, the crocuses surfaced in February. I do like how they go to sleep, sort of, and wake up after some months. The joy is in when they first spring to life in a new house. They all seem to linger on from when the last residents moved away.

    I am going to plant some mexican chillis and tomatos and mint first. If all that survives then I will think of flowers. (Aside – do you wonder why nobody writes songs about fruit or veggies but flowers … phool ahista phenko was a song I remember, someone’s nasal voice comes to mind and dim images of Mumtaz I think).

    Yes, Keukenhof is an amazing experience 🙂

    There are tamil film songs about eggplants and rotten tomatoes, and people have certainly written poems about veggies – I remember this one which starts with

    The last 2 lines are somewhere in the middle of the poem. Now, i don’t remember either the poet or the poem’s title, but does anyone know which poem this is? 🙂

  3. wow, you tulips looks awesome and so does the electric box!! 🙂 🙂 your efforts have paid off!

    Thanks! Let’s see if they come back again next spring!

  4. I remember having to learn the Daffodils poem by heart in school, not having the foggiest idea of what they looked like or why Wordsworth got so carried away by them. And now, they are among my favorite flowers!! Walking through Central Park in New York in the early spring with daffodils in bloom everywhere is one of life’s great pleasures.

    If my daffodils bloom, I will probably pull up a chair and park there 😀

  5. @ Lekhni

    You are too cool! 🙂 That poem is great. I remember that ref to Neembu Daadim. But not the poem. 😦 I think we should ask Prerna.

    Now that you mention aloo and baingan, there is an old fillum song that goes ‘aloo ki bhaaji baingan ka bharta, bolo ji bolo kya khaoge..’ sung by Kishore and Lata. The kind of absurd rhyme/ poetry that appeals to me… 🙂

  6. Very nice! all seems so fresh. i loved the texture of the grass… wondering how it wud feel if i get to lay my body on the carpet! 🙂 very good lawn btw, and i’ll be waiting for ur “bulby-bubbly spring” post 😉

  7. Pingback: Crocus, Tulip, yes, but where are the Daffodils? | The Imagined Universe

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