Hurtling through a country lane I am brought up short by a dazzling gang of daffodils ranged along the verge. Not just in one spot, or around a driveway, but all the way along the road, like a cheering cloud waiting for marathon runners. We are talking hundreds and hundreds of blatantly yellow flowers here, nodding their heads in time to the traffic on sturdy green stalks.
It looked wonderful – but who did it? Who spent days planting them, and why? The land isn’t owned by one person, nor by the council (this wasn’t a neat verge – this was the edge of woodland, a couple of pig fields, a farm entrance, a cattery, some private properties, a lay-by…). You couldn’t do it with a couple of dozen bulbs – you would need potato sacks full of them.
So then, I see daffodils everywhere. High up on a bank by the beck, where even the dog has problem scrambling to; at the base of a gas pipeline bridge; in the middle of some fly-tipped rubble on the track that leads to the chicken farm. It wasn’t the chickens who planted them. Then who?
These aren’t wild daffodils. I looked them up. Wild ones (Narcissus pseudonarcissus – oh yes, I can google stuff) are sort of paler and smaller. The ones round here are the really chavvy buy-in-bulk supermarket ones, with blingy bright yellow trumpets. These daffs take no prisoners. Unless they have sort of mated with the wild ones and then taken over their habitats, like homo sapiens did with Neanderthal man – can flowers do this? Are daffodils the Viking invaders of the spring flower world?
There is never any evidence of anyone planting them though, and who would hawk a great sack of bulbs and a trowel into a wood or down a rarely-used track? But if someone did, then they are a pretty spectacular person. Did they go out at night? How did they choose the right spot? Or was it a government policy 50 years ago that is still flowering today?
Are they planted or have they gone rogue? If they are planted, then who plants them? When? How long ago? And why? Are they really – really REALLY so lovely and pure hearted they do it simply for the sake of beauty? Oh Gods, I hope so…