There is something rather magical about daffodils. They are so bright and so happy. I think of them as a signal that winter is on its way out and that sun will shine again.
Of course these days you can buy them in the supermarkets in January, way before you would naturally expect them to bloom outdoors, but I’m happy to do so and trick myself into thinking that it will get warmer soon, that the days will be longer, that I will be rejuvenated by the sunshine soon.
I also like daffodils because they are “accessible” flowers. We were given bulbs at infants’ school, to take home and plant, so we could grow our own. You didn’t need to be an expert to get them to come to life, and taking the flowering plants back in to school months later, we were handed certificates congratulating us on our new-found gardening skills. (Depending on the health and condition of your plant you either got a black-and-white or full colour version.)
The bunches of stems and buds that are for sale in the supermarkets are only £1 and the flowers last a good while. I still see cut flowers as very much a “luxury item”, and much as I love having them in the house, not really something I can justify buying just for myself. With daffodils it’s different. They are cheap enough and bring much-needed brightness and joy at a point of the year where I struggle with the seemingly never-ending greyness of winter in London. The skies are grey, the buildings are grey, the pavements are grey and the people are grey. Londoners tend leave our cheerful bright summer wardrobes behind and clad ourselves in black, navy, and various shades of grey to match the dark nights and fit in with our surroundings. So daffodils offer good value reminder that “this too shall pass” as they open their trumpet-like flowers and deliver a bold and cheerful reminder of brighter days ahead.