Quantcast

«

»

Mar 22 2012

Hey, Ophelia! I Gotcher Daffodils Right Here! With Haiku, Fruit Trees and Tom Lehrer

We’ve just passed the equinox, and things round here are getting ready to spring into spring. Not fast enough for Ophelia, alas – she wants her daffodils and wants them now. Well, she can haz. And so can you. There’s also bonus Tom Lehrer at the end, because spring isn’t complete without one particular song.

A Daffodil in Oregon

Next March, I should see about taking Ophelia to Oregon. There’s a long stretch of back road in the Willamette Valley where daffodils go on for miles. Lockwood and I didn’t get any pictures – the lighting conditions were teh suck for shooting from the car – but we marveled. You drive and drive and drive for what seems like a bajillion miles with this nearly unbroken hedge of daffodils along the road.

Daffodils in Bothell

Now I’m just cheating – these are from last year. It should only be a week or so before everything’s blooming in force again, and I’ll have the opportunity to unleash the power of my macro upon the local cultivated flora again. I’ll be paying more attention to daffodils this time.

Two-Toned Daffodil in Bothell

Daffodils had a particular meaning in my youth. When the crocuses came up, we’d bust out the plastic wrap and toothpicks, because it was guaranteed Flagstaff would suffer another snowfall. My mom and I always tried to save the little buggers with makeshift greenhouses, and it never worked. But when the daffodils came up, we knew we were through with winter. Sure, there might be a light dusting of snow, but the freezes and the significant accumulations were over. And there’d be plenty of mud to play in.

Daffodils apparently have a different schedule in Japan.

The first snow
the leaves of the daffodil
bending together.

- Basho

Dos Daffodils

It’s actually a little difficult to get excited about daffodils here, for me, because about the time they’re in full swing, the fruit trees get showy. That’s one thing I love about this area. Driving in to work becomes a ride through fairyland.

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees start in first. The whole place turns rather pink, and for a while, it feels like being in a Japanese poem.

Cherry Blossoms II

A lovely spring night 
suddenly vanished while we 
viewed cherry blossoms

- Basho

Then the plum trees turn into huge white clouds. At least, I think they’re plum trees. Maybe one of you will know for sure.

Plum (?) Blossoms

Spring too, very soon!
They are setting the scene for it –
plum tree and moon.

- Basho

If you wish to sit quietly in serene beauty and contemplate the glories of spring, stop right here. Savor the moment. Do not go on. Because this song will shatter your ethereal mood.

Yet it is a springtime anthem.

(For the record: I haven’t poisoned a single pigeon, and don’t advocate doing so. I actually like pigeons. But I also love this song.)

Happy spring, my darlings!

15 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    rq

    Without leaves or a better shot of the entire tree with treebark, it’s hard to say if they’re plum blossoms or apple blossoms; both come out in full glory after cherry trees (in my experience), with apple having a slight head-start on plum.
    From a gut feeling, I lean more towards apple. But I don’t know what’s more popular out there, plums or apples, which could make the difference.
    Also, you should ask yourself if those are real cherry trees, or cherry plum trees (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/purple-leaf-plum-tree.html). :) I certainly can’t tell, just from these photos.
    Turns out all these fruit trees are a sneaky bunch by looking very, very similar (flower-wise).

  2. 2
    Cuttlefish

    A visitor to my office yesterday left me a bit worried. He pointed out that, here in Cuttletown in years past, we’ve had killing frosts as late as May. He’s worried that, like last year, this early heat wave will have our apple trees budding and blooming, only to have next week’s (or next month’s) deep freeze kill them off and ruin another year’s harvest. And I have apple trees in my yard.

  3. 3
    'Tis Himself

    My favorite Tom Lehrer song describing my second favorite hobby.

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    There is a tradition in Seattle of handing out daffodils on the first day of spring. I think the custom was started years ago by the flower merchants at the Pike Place Market, but it has spread far beyond them. Western Washington has a lot of flower farms: there is an annual tulip festival in the Skagit Valley, and even a website where you can see what is in bloom and plan your visit accordingly.

  5. 5
    Trebuchet

    Gregory in Seattle: There’s also a daffodil festival in and around the city to the south of you. You know, the one Seattlites like to pretend doesn’t exist.

    1. 5.1
      aspidoscelis

      Tacoma?

  6. 6
    Johnny Vector

    Meanwhile, in Flagstaff, there’s two feet of snow on the ground. Or so I hear from my high school friends; I haven’t lived there in 33 years.

  7. 7
    The Bobs

    Up here in Skagit county, the daffodil fields are in full bloom. No Tulips yet though.

  8. 8
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Trebuchet – This one? :-b

    I’ve been to it; it’s more of a beauty pagent festival than a flower festival and didn’t seem what Dana was talking about.

  9. 9
    Lockwood

    All that and a Tom Leher fan, too? You really are pretty much perfect.

    1. 9.1
      Trebuchet

      That’d be the one! I’m actually a northender/other-side-of-the water guy so if I make it to a floral festival it’ll probably be the Rhody Festival in Port Townsend.

  10. 10
    BGC

    I can’t hear Tom Leher without thinking of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVC9TayQIh8

    (It’s true, I’m a child of the TV age…)

  11. 11
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    OK! Daffodils, Tom fucking Lehrer, and PBS* Tom Lerhrer at 10 all in one thread. Internets all ’round.

    *It blew my grandmother’s mind when I pointed this out to her. It never crossed my mind that she know. Surprise, you’re nintey-odd years old and you’ve just discovered some new Lehrer.

  12. 12
    tms

    Hey Dana,

    As a Seattle native, I’m quite familiar with what blooms when around here. You have your cherry and plum blossoms mixed up. The flowering plum (purplish/pink) flowers first, then the cherry (white/pink). Either way, they’re both from the Prunus genus.

    As someone mentioned, daffs have long been celebrated in the Orting valley south of Seattle, and there a festival to that effect in Orting, Sumner, and Puyallup. Years ago, the Orting valley was as known for its daffodils as the Skagit valley is now, for its tulips. But alas, now the valley has been filled with suburban housing.

    Oh yes, I have heard rumors of a place called Tacoma that would buy daffodils from the valley growers, but I have generally dismissed them as urban myth.

    T

  13. 13
    kathyr

    Tom Lehrer’s name is mentioned, and the first thing I think of is “The Vatican Rag” (“genuflect, genuflect, genuflect”). Even my devoted Catholic mom laughed at that one.

Comments have been disabled.