Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daffodils in the Cemetery

It is spring – the season of the daffodil!  Known by many names including narcissus, jonquil, paperwhites, and Lenten lily – the daffodil is the harbinger of warmer weather. Daffodils come in a variety of colors, yellow, white, green, pink, red, orange and some interesting variations.  The small bulbs are planted in the autumn and are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.  The daffodil is the national flower of Wales.


Daffodils are a favorite cemetery flower, etched on stones and found growing throughout graveyards.  One variety, known as Twin Sisters or Cemetery Ladies, can be found in many older cemeteries throughout the country, originally planted by family members as a living tribute to their loved ones.   


Old City Cemetery located in Lynchburg, Virginia, http://www.gravegarden.org/ is known as the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in that state, established in 1806.   This cemetery has a large collection of antique daffodils and is highly regarded for maintaining their daffodils collections throughout the years.



Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, http://www.lakeviewcemetery.com is known for their ‘Daffodil Hill’ which includes over 100-thousand bulbs.  

Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport, Connecticut http://www.willowbrookcemetery.com is planting daffodils each year in order to create ‘Daffodil Mile.’  So far over 9-thousand bulbs have been planted from donor contributions.



Cemetery daffodils symbolize grace, beauty, deep regard, mortality, the death of a youth, new beginnings, innocence and unrequited love, making them very popular as part of the silent language depicted on stones.





Poet William Wordsworth wrote an ode to daffodils in 1804.  Known as one of his most famous poems, it was inspired by a walk he took with his sister in 1802.

                          I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a Cloud

That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;

Along the Lake, beneath the trees,

Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.



The waves beside them danced, but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: --

A poet could not but be gay

In such a laughing company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

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.




Now off to ‘dance with the Daffodils’ in our tiny rural cemetery, just up the road.  Enjoy your weekend!

~ Joy