New Year Daffodils

In these two photos one set of daffodils is Irish,  the other Chinese.

The Irish ones have been standing out in the cold of our front garden since mid-December. They were probably prepared to celebrate a ‘normal Christmas’ and still do not observe social distancing.  They remain alert, despite the harsh weather, as if waiting for someone to tell them what to do next.

I checked with google and learned that daffodils and narcissus are the same plant. They are susceptible to pests, diseases, viruses, fungi, mites and nematodes though ours are very healthy despite the weather and benign neglect.  I just wish our fruit trees could learn from them how to avoid disease and fungi, and even nematodes.

Daffodils came originally from the south of Spain and got to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-909).  Since then they have been popular around the Chinese New Year (next Friday!). In China they are treated with respect, as you can see in the second photo. If they bloom in time for the Festival it is a sign of wealth and good fortune in the year ahead. (Ours, being Irish, of course came out in time for Christmas instead.) 

But beware. A few years ago ten members of the Chinese community in Bristol nearly died because they ate daffodil bulbs and stalks they bought in a local supermarket thinking they were chives just like the ones they used at home when making the New Year festive dish, dumplings. 

There are over 50 species of daffodils so you should have no trouble getting some before Friday, just don’t put any in your dumplings.  

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