“A Host of Golden Daffodils”
The Daffodil (Narcissus) has 36 species with over 26,000 cultivated varieties. The characteristic trumpet surrounded by petals can vary in colour but are typically yellow hues.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in the water. As he sat with his head drooped over the water he wasted away gazing at his own image. The Daffodil or Narcissus are said to have bloomed where he lay, their nodding heads gazing at their own reflection in the water.
This Springtime stalwart is synonymous with the words of the poet William Wordsworth in his poem ‘I wandered lonely as a Cloud’. Daffodils produce a stunning display on the bank behind Wychfield House in the Spring and there is a link between the poet and Wychfield House other than the presence of these flowers.
Wychfield House was built in 1884 by Francis (Frank) Darwin and his second wife Ellen Wordsworth Crofts who was the Great Granddaughter of William Wordsworth. Ellen was a fellow and lecturer in English Literature at Newnham College and Frank, the son of Charles Darwin, was a renowned botanist. It was a common site for the family to entertain guests outside the house and as Ellen’s health deteriorated in 1903 her last days were spent lying on the veranda. Although the view has changed somewhat in 120 years, these flowers seem a fitting tribute to Ellen and Frank the first residents of Wychfield House.