"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
 
A Collection of Daffodils (1 of 4)

A Collection of Daffodils (1 of 4)

From Daffodil: The Remarkable Story of the World’s Most Popular Spring Flower by Noel Kingsbury and Jo Whitworth:

“Daffodils are somehow the quintessential spring flower. The appearance of their distinctive yellow blooms is a sure sign that winter has either ended or is about to soon….

“There are around twenty-seven thousand unique cultivars of daffodil. Unlike other flowers — roses, tulips, orchids, whose numbers of deliberately bred varieties range across great swathes of the spectrum or show off an extravagant range of shapes — daffodils are remarkably alike. All single cultivars have the same basic shape — a cup (also called a corona) and petals (although botanists do not call them petals); even the doubles or the strange ‘split-corona’ varieties easily betray their basic inheritance. Above all there is the colour, more or less every shade of yellow which can be imagined, but very little else: white of course, but then almost every flower has at least one white variant, some flashes of orange, but never very much, and that’s it; there are so-called pink varieties, but they are more of a tan-apricot. One of the fascinating things about daffodils is just how much play we can have with the same basic design and the same colour scheme, about how much breeders, the bulb trade, and we — the customers — keep on coming back for more….”


Every now and then I wonder why I’ve never gotten tired of taking photographs of plants, trees, and flowers. I tend to think about that when I realize that my photos of this year’s daffodils, for example, are not that much different from my photos of last year’s daffodils, or those from the year before… and also as spring and summer unfold and I know I’ll end out photographing plants in my own garden, all specimens I’ve photographed previously (along with a few newcomers and whatever else catches my camera’s eyes).

I seldom go back and look at previous photos in my collections, so often my only recognition of a newer photo’s similarity to a previous photo is in bits of memory, which is I guess where old photos reside anyway. But when I do take a look, there are always fun surprises: even though the textures and colors in nature are constantly changing, I can sometimes pinpoint that a photo taken today was of the same subject I took in the past, in the same approximate location, and maybe even the same time of day. The daffodils in this post appeared here previously in 2020 (see Spring 2020: March is for Daffodils (3 of 4), but I must have missed them in 2021. Just as they did in 2020, this year’s crop was growing behind a concrete wall, creating a nice diversion as their top-heavy blooms curved the stems against the stone for some soft-versus-hard contrast and some dark background drama. They’re the same, yet different: a singular characteristic of photography is that if often feels like you are seeing something for the first time, even when you’re not. Close-up or macro photography seems to intensify that experience: it takes only the slightest change in positioning the camera to create a distinctly alternate view of the same subject. And then, in post-processing, Lightroom’s nearly endless options for adjusting and enhancing colors, textures, and backgrounds seems to turn each photo into an event of its own.


I learned from Noel Kingsbury’s book about daffodils — quoted above — that the flowers featured in this post are a form of double-daffodil, their distinction consisting of a multitude of soft, overlapping petals (reminding me of tissue-paper flowers) and a center cup that’s less apparent than other daffodils (such as trumpet varieties). This particular variety is almost pure white — and, actually, in bright sunlight or from a distance they look like that — but close-up each clump of petals shows off swatches of contrasting light yellow or cream color toward their center.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!





5 Comments

    1. Dale

      Ah, yes, thanks. I like to make up my own names for things, so instead of calling them double-daffodils, I’ll call them puff-daffodils from now on.

      Excellent!

      🙂

  1. Well I guess they have Heinz beat by a bit with 27k varieties. I always find it kind of touching to see them blooming away in what used to be a front yard, when the old farmhouse has been gone for many years. These doubles are great, Laurie has nailed the name, real puff daddy daffodils for sure.

    1. Dale

      With so many varieties, it’s close to impossible to identify any one, unless you bought it yourself and kept the plant tag the garden center attached to it. I suppose that’s why people hike things up a level and call them trumpet daffodils or double-daffodils; or now, puff-daffodils and puff-daddy-daffodils.

      They do seem determined to grow in surprising places and for years and years. When they were at their peak this season, they were everywhere, in places they took over on their own…. like the one I saw growing in a crack in a sidewalk at the CVS near my house. It’ll probably be back there next year!

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