‘Daffodils that come before the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty.’ W. Shakespeare.
I hate to disagree with the Bard, but he has got it the wrong way round. It is the winds that take the daffodils. It happens every year; the first tall daffodils are standing proudly to attention, blowing their own trumpets and then inevitably we get strong March winds and they land face down in the mud. So a little dirty and humbled they end up in my daffodil vase. This year it was the tail end of Freya that caused the damage.
We all have daffodils that we didn’t plant. And I seem to have rather a lot of ‘King Alfred’ which given a choice is the last one I would choose as I prefer the dainty dwarf varieties. King Alfred is welcome to take this daffodil and his burnt cakes elsewhere. But having said that, I can’t bear to see him languishing all over the garden so in a vase he goes. And actually looking at him close up I do rather like his frilly corona.
You might remember from last year that darling Beatrice painted a picture of Hector enjoying a nice bunch of daffodils. Don’t let that innocent expression fool you he is probably plotting which to eat first, the bee or the daffodils.
I also picked a tiny bunch of sweet violets today. They are rather invasive but I have wildish areas where I let them do what they like.
I love the elusive perfume of violets and the way they play tricks with your olfactory senses. You remember the lovely lines about music being the food of love in Twelfth Night? The Swan of Avon summed it up beautifully when he talked about:
‘…the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour’.
That is exactly what violets do. It is a sort of magic trick. They get their scent from a chemical called ionone which stimulates the scent receptors and then temporarily shuts them down completely. After a while the scent comes back because the brain will register it as a new stimulus. So Shakespeare’s description is spot on and nobody told him about ionone.
You might have noticed that the daffodil vase has daffodils painted on it.
And the violet vase has violets on it.
I am a little embarrassed about this as it seems rather like having your name on the handkerchief. And what is that about? I am never quite sure whether the purpose is to remind you what your name is, or to stop other people stealing your handkerchief. Neither scenario seem very likely. And I do remember what daffodils and violets look like without having a specially painted vase to remind me. But never mind I think they are quite sweet.
I hope the other In a Vase on Monday enthusiasts have not had their flowers blown away in the UK, or buried under feet of snow in the States. But gardeners are a resourceful lot and I am sure there will be lots of spring delights on show today. Thank you Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden for hosting.