The Daffodil Principle
Daffodils, the Flower of Hope!
Winter is here, and even if her full fury hasn't hit your part of the country yet, there's a good chance you're already tired of the season of short days. Even with much of the season still ahead of us, many are already looking forward to the days when the daffodils begin to show their lovely little heads. Those beautiful yellow blossoms that remind us winter is almost over are a delightful treat for those of us in the North. It's a shame they live for such a very short time.
Sometimes winter seems like it never ends, but just when you think the icy cold will last forever, a daffodil will pop up her little head and give you hope. Daffodils bring hope, just like Spring. When this season comes, we see hope all around, hope of new things, hope of warmer weather. For children it often brings hope of Summer vacation. Whatever the reason, these little fairy cups bring hope.It's always amazed me that these flowers with the shortest bloom life of any other flower seem to be as popular as any year round garden beauty. It doesn't matter which month of the year, daffodils are a favorite flower. Who would have thought that a blossom with such a limited lifespan would be so popular. I think it's because of the promise it holds. These flowers begin to appear even before the snow is gone. They cause those of us who live in the colder regions of the United States to gain hope that the bleakness of winter will indeed end. When the bright yellow and white of these annuals peak out from under the snow or dead leaves, we know that Spring is coming and the short, cold days and long, dark nights will soon be gone.
I wonder if it's this hope that inspired a garden in Running Hills, California in the San Bernadino Mountains. It seems as though it's a five acre garden with a modest house in the middle of it and a garden that holds all the promise of Spring! But, I don't want to tell you too much lest I spoil the story. So, read on and enjoy!
The Daffodil Principle
From "Celebration" by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards
Several times my daughter, Julie, had telephoned to say, "Mom, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my place by the beach to her lakeside mountain home."I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. The next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I got in the car and began the long, tedious drive.When I finally walked into Julie's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Julie! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and the children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"
My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mom.""Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears and then I'm heading straight for home!" I said, rather emphatically."Gee, Mom, I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car," Julie said with a forlorn look in her eyes."How far will we have to drive?"
Smiling she answered, "Just a few blocks, I'll drive ... I'm used to this."After several minutes on the cold, foggy road, I had to ask "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!""We're going to the garage the long way," Julie smiled, "by way of the daffodils.""Julie," I said sternly, "please turn around.""It's all right, Mom, I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church I saw a hand-lettered sign ..."Daffodil Garden"
We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Julie down the path. As we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.
Five acres of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen!
"Who planted all these?" I asked Julie."It's just one woman," Julie answered, "She lives on the property. That's her home," and she pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.
We walked up to the house and on the little patio we saw a poster ...
Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking
- 50,000 bulbs
- one at a time
- by one woman
- 2 hands, 2 feet
- and very little brain
- Began in 1958
There it was ... "The Daffodil Principle"
For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.Still, this unknown, old woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of magnificent beauty, and inspiration.The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration:learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, (often just one baby-step at a time) learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.
When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Julie, "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way, "Start tomorrow, Mom," she said, "It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of our yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask ... ""How can I put this to use today?"
Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, Author
Other places to get information about the Daffodil Garden
- Another Daffodil Garden in Texas
In searching for more information about the Bauer's garden, I ran across another daffodil collection in Texas. Although it covers more acres (28 in all), the description and pictures look as though the flowers aren't planted quite as thick as those i
The Rest of the Story
As if that wasn't enough, listen to this miraculous ending!
In 1999 a California wildfire destroyed 64,000 acres of national forest including the Bauer's modest home and the five acres of land occupied by the daffodils. In the Spring of 2000 the daffodils brought hope again to the Bauers as they built their new home. Under the charred forest, the bulbs were saved.Within 4 years, a second fire has destroyed the land around the Bauer's home again. Some of the flowers were lost in this blaze.
Prior to 2009, the garden was open for three weeks each year. Visitors were invited to take the one hour self-guided tour of the daffodil garden each spring. Sadly, I've discovered in my online research of this beautiful labor of love, that 2009 was the Garden's last public appearance for visitors. I regret that I didn't have the opportunity to see it at least this last year. Fortunately, despite the fact the garden is no longer open to the public, we can still learn a tremendous lesson from this labor of love. There is always hope . . . One Bulb at a Time . . . You can Make a Difference!
The Daffodil Principle on YouTube
More Inspiration for your day
- Devotions for Busy Moms
The Daffodil Principle is a beautiful story of inspiration. This page offers more snippets to inspire busy moms and caregivers of children.
- Devotions for Christians and Small Groups
We can't have enough inspiration, so this page offers even more short meditations to help motivate you to be all you can be.
© 2009 Lynne Modranski