Celebrating Appalachia Videos Seasons

Daffodils at Old Homeplaces


I’m talking about daffodils in my latest video.

I’ve always called the cheery herald of spring daffodil, Granny calls them jonquils. A few other names I’ve heard folks use for the flower are March lily, March flower, Easter lily, Easter flower, and buttercup.

I love the daffodils that I have sprinkled around my yard, but I also love the ones I see at old homeplaces as I go about my way to and fro through Brasstown and beyond.

My mind goes to those people who planted them and I wonder who they were and why did their homes disappear into the landscape.

My favorite quote about daffodils:

“On we went, her red coat flitting in and out of the trees ahead of me. Sometimes she seemed not even to touch the ground. We came into the clear and struck out along a fencerow surprising the little birds that flew up all around us. We passed that pile of rocks which used to be the chimney of an old homestead, we know because daffodils pop up there every spring. Fannie said, ‘Daffodils remember when the people are all gone.'”

~Lee Smith, On Agate Hill

What a great line: “Daffodils remember when the people are all gone.”

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*Sources: Smith, Lee. On Agate Hill: a novel. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006

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  • Reply
    Phillip Keys Holt
    March 16, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    In East Tennesssee the yellow ones are daffodils and the white ones are jonquils, Butter cups are little yellow flowers that grow in cow pastures. Easter lillies are the big flowers that people buy and put in church on Easter sunday as a commemoration for a loved one.

  • Reply
    Sallie the apple doll lady
    March 15, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    I’ve been noticing daffodils this spring and wondering about the places where they survive. I used to look for a row of beautiful ones on my way to work and was disappointed when they were disturbed to make way for an office building. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looked forward to their beauty each spring. But one of my special memories is the spring a few years ago that my sister-in-law and best friend showed me daffodils in full bloom at an old CCC Camp in Cades Cove. She didn’t know why at the time but she had difficulty walking the grounds. It was her last time there with me because of a cancerous brain tumor. I treasure the photos from that day. Later I read about the camp and tried to visualize where the buildings were in relation to where the flowers, although some out of place, still formed the letters CCC. I understood they were around the flag pole. I wonder whose idea that was to plant the bulbs to form letters. If you go there it’s on the right across the road and just past one of the churches.

  • Reply
    Ruth Binder
    March 15, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    Tipper, I so much enjoy your videos. Today was about the daffodils and there are some near my home that surround what use to be an old homestead. Yes, I call them daffodils, and the ones in my yard are about 6″ tall now and starting to set their buds. They should be in bloom in about a week and I hope there won’t be any snow to blanket them here in NE Ohio.

  • Reply
    Jennifer C.
    March 15, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and the romp through the woods. There have always been daffodils growing around me: at my Mom’s house and my grandmother’s house. When my husband and I bought our first house three years ago, it was December so nothing was blooming. Then, that next March, I was happily surprised at a little bunch of daffodils in the front yard. Now, each year, I look forward to their happy faces, bobbing in the breeze, reminding me that Spring is almost here!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    We have the Easter flowers around here all over the place. I love seeing them. We know warm weather is just around the corner

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 15, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Another plant that can be found around old house places is the ebony spleenwort fern. It does not get very big, a big frond would be about a foot long. In winter the fronds lay flat but new ones stand up very straight. They seem particularly fond of growing around rocks such as chimney or foundation stones. They are easy to identify because the center stem of each frond is mahogany colored.

  • Reply
    Dennis MOrogan
    March 15, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    I enjoyed your story about daddodils. A few weekx ago when I saw our daffodils I was happy because I knew warm weather was not far away.

    I had not thought about daffodils being at old hme place. I ill start looking for them.

    We have “yellow bells” in our yard I did not know what they were forsythia untill I was around 35 yers old.

    Thank you for what you do. Looking at your blog is one of my favorite things to do.

    Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    I so love these beautiful flowers each year. I always remember a dear neighbor who had lovely flower gardens, but never planted vegetables. She would thin her Daffodils each year and discard the bulbs over the bank at our mailboxes. Each year I enjoy a masterpiece created by my neighbor of various flowers, but mostly daffodils each time I go get my mail. I have seen them in places where one would never know a dwelling once stood, especially in old deserted coal camp communities.

  • Reply
    Frances Jackson
    March 15, 2021 at 11:56 am

    I love your stories. I’ve had my eye on my daffodils now for a couple of weeks, and they are about to bloom, here in St. Louis. I have narcissus too, also known as paper-whites. They come along a few weeks after the daffies.
    We raised our family in the hills of northwest Arkansas, and I used to enjoy taking the kids out in the woodsy places. We loved thinking about the people who used to live in the places where we found clumps of daffodils. There were sometimes irises there, too, and later on there might be peonies, which in Arkansas a lot of people call piney bushes.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    March 15, 2021 at 11:29 am

    My mother had them in their yard, planted in beds around the house. We called them daffodils. Thank you for the lovely jaunt through the woods. I have one lily plant that blooms each spring around April or May in our yard. Someone else planted it, and we are enjoying the fruits of their labor.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 11:06 am

    At home in PA, daffodils start to bloom about now but I was recently at the old place where my grandparents lived and her daffodils are finishing up. No one lives there anymore but her daffodils do remember! I have dug up a few of her daffodils and planted them at my parents home and now my parents have moved on to heaven but the daffodils remember. I have driven country roads near me in SE PA and seen clumps of daffodils but no home structure visible. Like you I think about the family that lived there and probably raised a family and farmed. Daffodils just bring a smile to my face – they are like sunshine. I do remember them being called buttercups. I got a smile on my face too when you said “Yellow Bells” for Forsythia. Never heard anyone else call them that except my Mother. Here in NE MS, the Bradford Pear Trees are in full bloom as are the Redbuds, Plum, and Tulip Trees. Absolutely beautiful time of year. My Great-grandfather was a Potter and my Grandfather had a pottery shop where his sons worked on their little farm place but also worked their pottery. Just recently, we took some family out and walked through the forest to show them where the old kiln was located. A cousin pointed out a Huckleberry growing up just as green as could be. Of course, no berries on it yet. Spring is definitely on its way!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 10:38 am

    They sure are beautiful I’m glad to see March, and spring again….❣️

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    March 15, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Many of the seemingly random flowers we see around us have been “planted” by birds or squirrels, but I choose to imagine that most have been purposefully planted and many of those by a long departed soul longing for some beauty in this world. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but our Mom always had some sort of flowers in the yard, often from seeds, cuttings or bulbs from someone else’s yard.

  • Reply
    Margie G.
    March 15, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I had never heard daffodils called buttercups until friends in TN used the term. I argued til I was almost blue in the face that a buttercup is a tiny flower. Actually we are BOTH correct. When I was a child, I’d pick a daffodil or lily or rose in a heartbeat. At some point, mommy let me know in no uncertain terms NOT to pick them. She would get a look of disapproval across her face and it’s a look no kid likes to see. I love daffodils and lilies so if you see a stranger plucking yours, it could be me. I can’t help myself. But you’re right about chimneys and daffodils marking a many homestead long gone. I love spring and hail to forsythia as well!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Daffodils do remember when people are gone. They remind me each year that I am not the only person to walk these grounds. A house burned close to a hundred years ago that was located several hundred feet from my front yard. My imagination runs wild as I wonder who planted them, what the house looked like and how the flowers have lasted so long.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 9:01 am

    I really enjoy our posts and videos. I was born and raised in Haywood County and have always said that the prettiest valley in all of Western N.C. is in Andrews. There are slight differences in jonquils and daffodils that my Granny taught me.
    Jonquils have slender leaves that round on the tips while daffodils have sharp-tipped leaves. Jonquil stems are hollow and usually shorter than daffodils. They tend to have clusters of flowers on the stems and the blooms have a fragrance.

    • Reply
      Margie G
      March 15, 2021 at 9:43 am

      I’m in WV and that land is known far and wide as very good land. Thanks for the lesson on difference between a jonguil and daffodil. Have a blessed day.

  • Reply
    Liz Hart
    March 15, 2021 at 8:56 am

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  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 15, 2021 at 8:26 am

    We called them “Easter lilies” when I was growing up. Over the years I have changed to daffodils.

    They are indeed a flower of memory. They remind me how my Mom would want to take a flower collecting trip in the spring. We dug flowers at old homeplaces on national forest. In those days no permit was needed.

    We have made a couple of trips over to Don Carter State Park to see two patches of daffodils. One is at a place I remember the house from before the park existed. There is a scatter of daffodils underneath a huge old white oak. You would really like that spot I think. The other is in the piney woods of an old field. Daffodils are widely scattered through the woods around where the old house was. There is also a bit of artifacts; bottles, old tires, a car headlight and whatnot. I thought about you and the girls when we were there, about how you save old bottles and reuse them.

    Daffodils have several things in their favor. The will grow and bloom in shade. Deer won’t eat them. Both of those things are really handy because if one has both of those problems the list of fixes is a short one.

  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    March 15, 2021 at 8:15 am

    My mother called the ones that were all yellow daffodils and the ones with white petals and a yellow “trumpet” jonquils. Then there was a tiny one she called paper-whites. Up here in northeast Ohio, the daffs are just coming up.

    • Reply
      Margie G
      March 15, 2021 at 9:45 am

      You’re talking about white Crokus I do believe.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    March 15, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Saw the first daffodils on March 1st. That’s about a week late around these parts. Waiting for the Redbuds…

  • Reply
    March 15, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I love the daffodils too. My mother would call them jonquils. At one time in my area there were a lot of sharecropper homes that have now rotten down and you can see daffodils in the yards of these old homes. We have a good many daffodils set out in my yard and I am thinking of putting out more. My neighbor has some growing in her pasture that came from my grandparents home place, how they got in her her pasture is a mystery. She lets me dig them up and set them out in my yard

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 15, 2021 at 7:30 am

    One of the great things about spring is the daffodils. When I see the daffodils I know spring is close. They are the first sign of life following a dark dreary winter . Winters are always cold and dreary. There is a garden bed full of then in my yard. I think of them as hope… for warmer weather!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 15, 2021 at 6:49 am

    Love my daffodils. I know Spring is here.

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