Appalachia Gardening Heritage Seasons

The Daffodil

When the Daffodils began to bloom, I know Spring has arrived. Over the past week I’ve noticed Daffodils blooming everywhere, in my yard, as well as along the roadsides.

Each spring, I ponder the Daffodil blooms I see in fields or in wooded areas, in other words blooming in the middle of no where yet sending out a strong and mighty signal that someone once lived there.

I recently read an article on the history of Daffodils in America. The first settlers of the north east brought the tiny bulbs to the new world. Women sewed the bulbs into the hems of their dresses in an effort to bring a little piece of their past to the future that awaited them.

  • I see Daffodils bloom on the road leading to my home. I know they were planted by my Mamaw or maybe even by her Mother-the flowers have out lasted them both.
  • Down the road, a shower of Daffodils bloom on the bank beside the road. Pap tells me my great Aunt Dude and Uncle Ot used to live in a little house there, but as long as I can remember it’s only been a bank.
  • Farther down the road, a massive amount of Daffodils bloom inside a cow pasture. Pap tells me when he was boy there was a store there, but as long as I can remember only cattle have frequented the spot.

Daffodils are such bright hopeful harbingers of Spring to me, but obviously I’m not alone in my feelings. The ladies who thought enough of Daffodils to sew them into their dresses, they knew the power of hope and renewal that occurs each spring. I believe all Daffodil planters of the past knew something about it too.


p.s. Granny calls Daffodils-Jonquils. Anyone else ever heard them called this?

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Mamaw (husband’s mama) called them jonquils and they’re also known as Easter flowers ’round here. 🙂

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    March 25, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Tipper: Our daffodills are only green shoots, that will change as the weather gets warmer. I know all the ones around our house were planted by me.

  • Reply
    jeanne habing
    March 25, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Thanks to someone who must have loved flowers as much as I do, I now have thousands of daffodils blooming in a small gap between my house and the road , all these came from one bucket of bulbs dug from an old deserted homestead years ago, where they came up each year with other hardy survivors, such as sweet-peas, Iris,and antique roses. I often think of the lady who planted and tended the bulbs, and the children who must have lived there at one time in the old house. They are all gone now but the flowers grow on to enrich the lives of all who see them.

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    March 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Very nice post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    March 23, 2009 at 8:44 am

    As I drive around, I see daffodils growing in odd places and I wondered what had been on that site before. Now I’m sure someone had called that place home. Kind of sad but kind of promising that something lived on from that place. Wish they could tell the story of how they were planted. (good idea for a children’s book). My Granny Hock called them jonquils, the rest of us, daffodils. Glad you save the iris.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    March 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I’ve heard them called both. I planted 100 bulbs year before last and have enjoyed them brightening up with winter doldrums so much I plan on putting another 2 or 3 hundred in this fall. I’ll have to look for some pictures and post them. I’ve also heard narcissus, too, but mostly jonquils or daffodils.

  • Reply
    David "Sumoflam" Kravetz
    March 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I am from Lexington and love to travel myself. Since it is a beautiful spring day in Kentucky, my wife and I decided to take a drive today through SE Kentucky. we spent the night in Morehead and will drive south on backroads all the way to Blakey and then across and up through Daniel boone National Forest to Stanton and back to Lexington. Of course, we have camera in hand and look forward to seeing many daffodils, bloomin trees and such.
    Came across your blog this morning and look forward to reading it more.
    David “Sumoflam” Kravetz
    Lexington, KY

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    March 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    This is a beautiful post on daffodils. Growing up, Daddy called them jonquils. He could hardly wait until March when they bloomed so he and his siblings could pull off their brogans and go barefooted.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 9:03 am

    My crocus are just coming up through the ice and snow I have left, no sign of daffodils yet. I love to see them coming up along side the road and out in the woods along my route and wonder about the families that planted them. I longed to dig a few when I visited my mother’s old homestead last year but as the property now belongs to someone else I’ll have to settle for the pictures I took.
    Jonquils are a specific type of Daffodils. They have rounder leaves and are more fragrant than most other types and therefore favorites for generations.

  • Reply
    Rick M
    March 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    My wife has always called them jonquils.Right after my Grandmother pass away and before the house was sold I dug some up. I put them out next to the garden and think about her when they come up. Funny how something so simple can make you feel happy and sad.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    March 19, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve heard them called by both names too. I don’t get to see them much though unless I’m going to do laundry as they grow in the beds near the Royal Farm Store. At one time, they used to give a daffodil to every person who rode the subway and buses on the first day of Spring. I haven’t seen that tradition repeated for a couple of years though. I think they’re beautiful and the yellow is so vivid. Makes you know Spring is here.
    Your pictures are fantastic! xxoo

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    March 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I love that they pop up all over now even though they are not at all near current homes! How cool that they sewed them into their hems – foresight at it’s best 🙂

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    In my mind, I guess it could be called “semantics”, jonquils always meant those found in the wild. Daffodils always meant those around the house. That’s the way the words felt. Sometimes I heard them called narcissus. Those in the wild seem paler than those my wife plants (she would want me to say that).
    Where ever I see them, like robins, they sure are a reassuring sight. So are the house finches that have taken to a wreath we never took down from Christmas on our front porch.
    Ours just poked up a few days ago. Our daffodils.
    Uncle Billy’s garlic is back, too. It was like finding a lost pet. He gave us the bulbs for cooking, just before he died in Kansas a few years ago but I planted the separated cloves back then and they never seemed to grow. I thought they had long since died. Aunt Helen died just after he did. I’m glad his garlic didn’t.
    He fought throughout the Pacific in WWII but he never talked about it.
    I think there are many metaphors for Life in the beauty and nature of Spring’s return.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I dearly love daffodils. They’re blooming all around me this week. I’m always tempted to cut them to bring indoors for a vase, but I can never bring myself to do so, thus robbing others of enjoying their beauty outside.
    Growing up in Oklahoma, we called them Jonquils, too.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I love how you can tell the history of your places by where the flowers are!
    I don’t live where my ancestors lived, but I wonder if I could go there in the spring and see flowers. I think I might try it!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2009 at 10:00 am

    yes, i’ve heard of them as jonquils also.
    what i love about daffodils is how they seem to sprout up at random places. like you were saying: the middle of a cow pasture, along the road, the edge of a forest. it’s like little bursts of sunshine greeting us in unusual places. i love that!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Yes we too call them daffodils or jonquils. Around here they are just starting to bloom. In my yard I have one that is almost ready to pop. Of course it’s to get cold again in the next day or two after being 80 yesterday.
    We have some white one, which are probably called another name, we need to move closer to the house.
    What a beautiful time of year. The only thing I like better are the redbud trees.
    Why they are called red buds, I don’t know. They are actually lavender!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I also have seen daffodils growing in fields by old foundations or chimneys–which tells me that someone who lived there loved them.
    Lovely photos and I enjoyed hearing about the places you see daffodils growing and the people who have gone before.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I love driving down the road and see daffodils on the hills where old homesteads used to be.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    We have always called them jonquils, and was told that there is a difference between daffodils and jonquils. We also used to put food coloring in the water and put the flowers in, and in a day or two the flowers had soaked up the colored water, it was pretty neat.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Lots of people here call them jonquils also.
    I love the story of sewing them into their dresses. What a neat piece of history that is.

  • Reply
    Julie Curtis
    March 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I’ve heard people occasionally call them jonquils, but everyone around here calls them daffodils. Ours have already finshed blooming. I dig up iris and daffodils, too, when I see them in the ditch (and nobody’s looking!)

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I’ve heard them called jonquils but they’ve always been daffodils to me. Years ago, my mother came home to find every daffodil in the yard gone. When she came in the house (highly upset), she found them all in a 10-gallon bucket on the kitchen table – a “gift” from my baby brother. For every flower he picked, my mother made him help her plant a new bulb in the yard. For years, every spring, their front yard looks like a carpet of yellow.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Well, daffodils are jonquilles in French so perhaps it comes from that. The daffodils are blooming here in Cumbria, in the UK, too. I imagine that down at Wordsworth’s cottage – about 20 miles from where I live – they will be as stunning as usual. The snow drops have been beautiful over the last few weeks too.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers. I have heard the word jonquil all my life, but never knew what kind of flower they were. So I went on a search on the net and jonquils and daffodils are definitely the same. Wonder why they have two names?
    Anyway, great post!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve heard them called jonquils. I remember them around two old house placed on the mountain where my grandmother lived before they “moved down to the road”
    At one place there was an old cabin, a well house, and an can house. Also a garden plot where rhubarb still came back every hear even though the people had been gone a long time and of course there was flowers.
    I used to sit on a rock and look at it all and wonder about the people, it was my granddaddy’s brother, Morgan. But that was just a name to me, who were the people?
    Glad to see the spring!
    Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    We have daffodils here, but not many, and definitely not naturalized like in your area and where I grew up. I miss that.
    I’ve heard the names daffodil and jonquil interchanged, but somewhere in my life I learned (or at least someone told me) there was a difference. I certainly can’t tell you if that is true, and if it is, what the difference is.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    March 18, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    My grandmother called them “Easter flowers.”

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    My great grandmother called the jonquils. Ours have been blooming here for a few weeks. There is a falling down old house on my in-laws property, and every year daffodils, tulips, crocus, and other flowers pop up all around the house and field surrounding it. I love that the woman who lived there once, whomever she was, left a little bit of her life in that place…a bit of beauty that makes us feel connected to her.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I have heard daffodils called jonquils. When ever I see daffodils in strange places I raid them…. Dig up a few and drag them home. I did this one day with Iris’s too. The property had been sold to a developer and there were 3 white iris’s growing on a fence line. I watched them for 2 weeks. Finally I stopped with my shovel and bucket and snatched them.
    About 2 weeks after, a dozer made a lovely entrance to a neighborhood right over where they were.
    I hardly ever see white iris.
    I ride around with a bucket and shovel in the spring time…..

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    The daffodils are beautiful! Down here I look for red bud trees blooming out and thistles. Do ya’ll plant by the moon or signs? (just curious)

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    My mom always calls the jonquils and so did my grandma.
    It sounds like you have a long family history where you are!
    I planted the ones in my yard, but there are a lot of them growing on the hill behind my house–the original homestead house site where my gr-grandparents built. I transplanted a few of them down here. I wish more had survived up there~I’d love to plant out my yard with my great grandmother’s plants!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I call them daffodils but my wife and her people call them jonquils too.
    Like so many, daffodils mean a lot to my spirits as well and ours are just coming out!

  • Leave a Reply