Sandy's Garden ... Daffodils

I must admit that I have been growing increasingly bored by the continuing restrictions on what activities I have been legally permitted to do.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 2:37 pm

And the continuing advice to refrain from doing other things which, although not unlawful, I was strongly urged not to.

I also overlooked the fact National Daffodil Day was celebrated a fortnight ago, although I don’t think the event was over-well publicised.

But I have been admiring the huge numbers of gorgeous daffodils which are in full bloom in parks, in gardens … including my own … on roadsides and in all manner of odd locations.

Falkirk Herald gardening guru Sandy Simpson

And daffodils were very much in my mind when I discovered on the internet, entirely by chance, that Scotland s Daffodil Festival is to be held on Saturday 17 April and Sunday 18 April at Backhouse Rossie Estate, Virtual, Fife … and no, I don’t really understand that address either. Described as, “A sparkling festival programme of internationally respected speakers, tours, workshops and Q&A,” pre-booking … and payment … is required and can be done at www.backhouserossie.co.uk, from which website further information is available.

And this discovery led me to consider some of the plant-lore about daffodils. Did you know, gentle reader, that, as was reported in The Times nigh on thirty years ago, an official UK War Office document described Australian servicemen who were serving when the Allies lost Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 as ‘daffodils’ … ‘beautiful to look at but yellow all through.’ Ouch!

Or did you know that the local Environmental Trust on St Mary’s, one of the Isles of Scilly, pays Prince Charles one daffodil annually as rent for the untenanted lands on the island? Perhaps you were unaware that, if the first daffodils you saw this year were hanging their heads towards you, you might as well retire to bed for the remainder of 2021, for you can expect nothing but a series of disasters.

Then again, if you visit the American state of Maine, you should be alert to the need not to point to any sprouting daffodils, for a pointing finger will assuredly prevent them from flowering.

And the species can retaliate with its power over poultry. Don’t, for goodness’ sake, take a bunch of daffodils with you when you visit a poultry farm. The presence of daffodils will certainly prevent ducks from laying eggs; and if the ducks are sitting on already-laid eggs, only a single egg in the clutch will hatch successfully.

Oh, and by the way, hens and geese are sometimes similarly affected.

There is a long-standing relationship between religious buildings and daffodils. Prior to the mass planting of daffodils by local authorities and householders, displays of the lovely yellow flowers were said to reveal sites where long-demolished monasteries and abbeys had stood.

This may be because some Christian folklore says that, on the night of the Last Supper, daffodils appeared in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Jesus. I suspect, however, that daffodils were favoured by the monks because they promise that better times are on the way.

Hopefully, that promise still holds; and we, too, can expect to enjoy happier days very soon.