Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Takoma Park Garden Club Daffodil Show

“…the Garden Club of Takoma Park, outside of Washington, which has for nine years past had its annual Daffodil Show…”

Those were the words which quickly brought me out of my bedtime reverie last night, as I lay in bed reading Mrs. Francis King’s 1925 Chronicles of the Garden. I grew up a stone’s throw from Takoma Park; some of my grammar schoolmates probably lived there. Even now, over eighty years after Chronicles was written, Takoma Park has retained both a very distinct identity and a vigorous enthusiasm for gardening.

It was Mr. Benjamin Y. Morrison, again quoting from Mrs. King “one of our finest amateurs and an authority in horticulture”, who wrote those words. There was something comical about her description of Morrison as an amateur: he went on to become one of the leading lights in twentieth century horticulture during a career which culminated in his becoming the first director of the U.S. National Arboretum - not bad for an amateur.

Does Takoma Park still have daffodil shows? If they do, I don’t know about it. The greater Washington, D.C. area does have a big, active daffodil society, The Washington Daffodil Society. The WDS was organized in 1950 – “ it grew out of the first daffodil show in the Washington area, sponsored by three local garden clubs” reads the account on the WDS website. This was twenty-five years after the events described by Morrison, and it thus seems unlikely that the show sponsored by three local garden clubs could have been the ones in which Morrison participated. Here’s a link to a page giving the early history of the WDS:


and then click on About Us.

Don’t miss the photo of the founders: the clothing reminds me so much of family photos we have from those days.

It’s hard to believe that the Takoma show would have been anything like the shows of the WDS: for decades these shows have exhibited hundreds of cultivars yearly. This should surprise no one: not only is the daffodil charming, it generally makes itself very much at home in local gardens.

All of this talk about daffodils: there are no daffodils blooming in the garden right now, but two forms of Narcissus cantabricus are blooming today in the protected cold frame.

Am I cheating if I announce the beginning of daffodil season 2009 in my garden based on these somewhat coddled darlings?

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