Monday, July 02, 2018


My first daffodils are out. The jonquils have been in flower for a few weeks starting with the white ones that I posted about at the end of May which came out unseasonably earlier about six weeks ago. Those blossoms have long since died back and we now have the common jonquils along the front driveway in bloom and two pots - one paperwhites and the other yellow - bringing brightness and perfume to the back patio.

But while the jonquils have been up for in some cases for months, the daffodils have been really slow to even shoot - and given I had planted over a hundred I was getting a little concerned. Then, a couple of weeks ago I noticed the first leaves and yesterday buds. Now today I have flowers. I would like to show you a photo - I may later - but today the rain has set in and since we need every single drop after an exceptionally dry summer I'm not complaining even if it's preventing me from getting outside.

Seeing the flowers has reminded me of the old children's rhyme Daffy-down-dilly of which there are several variations. The one I grew up with was

'Daffy down dilly went to town
 In a bright yellow petticoat
And a green gown.'

This is not very far from the first recorded version which appeared in Mother Hubberd in 1593 but differs from some other later versions. Although the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne is often credited with creating the term daffy-down-dilly in his novel Little Daffy-down-dilly published in 1843 the term had been in use for much longer and was generally used as an insult. This leads to the question of how this verse became a children's rhyme, something I doubt we will ever know. Mind you many nursery rhymes began as verses intended for adults and have since lost their original meanings so maybe it's not so surprising.

If you want to know more about Daffy-down-dilly you can find it here.

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