The Narcissus Nitty GRITty: A Daffy-Dilly of a Tale

| 4/14/2009 12:10:29 PM

CindyMurphyBlog.jpgTa-da-da-ta-ta-da! The daffodils are here! The early flowering bulbs have been opened for a couple of weeks – the crocus, the snowdrops, and the cute, little chionodoxa – glory-of-the-snow. They are all welcome spring visitors, but it’s in eager anticipation, I await my favorite springtime flower: the daffodil. When the daffodils bloom, it really feels like spring has arrived. I think it’s so fitting that they have built-in trumpets to blare, “Spring is here!!!” So beautiful, they can toot their own horns all they like and no one would mind.


The early, little ‘Tete-de-Tetes’ in the nursery’s arboretum are in full bloom; my early varieties at home are just starting to open. It’s the perfect time to cut them, letting them open indoors so that their heady scent fills the house. The later varieties are still just nubs poking through the ground. My favorite of the later daffodils is ‘Thalia.’ Sometimes referred to as the orchid narcissus, it’s a beautiful, fragrant pure white daffodil. All daffodils are in the Narcissus genus, but not all Narcissus are daffodils.

'Tete-de-Tete' daffodils

One such non-daffodil Narcissus was a figure in Greek mythology. Narcissus was a beautiful, young hunter, without the disposition to match his appearance. Conceited – a true tooter of his own horn – and ill-tempered, his beauty was only skin deep.

Echo, a nymph of the woods and hills, was equally as beautiful as the young hunter. She had a gloriously sweet voice and was very fond of using it – always getting in the last word in conversations or arguments. This proved to be her curse. Echo kept Hera, the reigning goddess of Olympus, detained with her chatter while Hera’s philandering husband, Zeus, escaped the company of the nymphs unnoticed by his wife. Zeus escaped Hera’s wrath, but Echo did not. “You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first,” Hera cursed when she discovered what Echo had done.

Michelle House
4/23/2009 8:43:36 PM

Hello, I learned something new when I read this. lol, wonderful article. :)

Cindy Murphy
4/17/2009 7:41:41 PM

Hey, Dave. This morning, I read your comment from yesterday about the squirrels. I didn't have time to respond then, and now it seems to have disappeared along with most of the other comments here, and some in the blog about Quetta. I'm in squirrel commiseration with you; there ought to be some sort of support group for those of us suffering from the effects of the pesky little creatures. I appreciate you taking the time to add your comments here; your stories always crack me up. Enjoy your weekend. ~ Cindy

Nebraska Dave
4/14/2009 7:54:27 PM

Cindy, Wow that was quite the story. I didn’t know any flower could have such a rich mythological history. I have successfully grown daffodil but the biggest draw back with daffodil is what to do with the area after they have bloomed their heart out and withered away. My favorite flower would have to be the Rudbeckia better known as the Blackeyed Susan. Alas (big sigh) I have tried everything to grow them but have miserably failed. I’ve tried seed and plants but they just don’t respond to my tender loving words of encouragement. By the way, are you a believer of talking to your plants? I have to confess that I’ve never really tried it, but I have read articles about it. I’m still looking for those Begonias. They must be a warm weather plant. How about those Vining Petunias? Do they do well in containers? I put out some PW Petunias today on the displays. They are supposed to be some kind of a genetically altered super tunia. I have trouble just keeping my super African Violets that seem to thrive in my yard under control. Just imagine what would happen if Super Tunia met Super Violet. The offspring, Tunlet, would certainly have super powers and take control over all the other plants in the yard. I can just imagine myself having to hack my way out of the front door each day and make a mad dash for the car before Tunlet grabs me in the death grip strangle hold. (Big shudder) I think I’ll just stick with Pansies for now.

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