It was a scramble, when we were kids, to be the first one to pick the mop-headed daffodils growing at the crest of the hill above the house. I always wanted to take them to church as a present for Aunt Bess. I can still feel the cold and smell the rough fragrance of those first splashes of bright in an otherwise still wintry landscape.
I thought they weren’t “real” daffodils since they didn’t have that clear trumpet in the center. But I’ve recently learned that they’re likely a double daffodil called Van Sion. Apparently these beauties are so tough, hardy, and prone to multiplication that they’re found just about anywhere and everywhere a house or garden used to stand.
And their history is murky!
The flower likely originated in the Netherlands and found it’s way to America via England. It’s named for a Fleming who was living in London when his prized bulb bloomed in the year 1620. He couldn’t remember who gave it to him. Before his death he gave some bulbs to George Wilmer who was audacious enough to rename the flower after himself–Wilmer’s Double Daffodil. A name it often goes by in Europe.
As common as they are, I always thought of these flowers as native to Appalachia and, I suppose, in a way they are. Like so many of us in these mountains, our ancestors may have come from somewhere else but we’ve sunk our roots deep. And there’s no moving us now.