Daffodil Day on the Coast

Daffodils! They’re everywhere! For this is Daffodil Day! The idea of using this flower to raise money for the Cancer Society was brought back from Atlanta in 1989. This year is the 20th Anniversary. All moneys raised are used to help the sufferers of cancer and to fund research into its causes.

For this great cause the National Bank is principal sponsor, and this year our local branch outdid itself. Inside, the bank, normally somewhat austere, right now is festooned with flowers.

On the pavement outside a stall exhibits gifts, donated by various peoples and institutions, and smiling bank clerks serve the customers. There’s celebration in the air. And why not, for in the last 20 years this Bank has raised $13 million for cancer relief.

Throughout the Mall, shops and other premises provide trays of blooms. On street corners and in doorways patient collectors hold their boxes. Shoppers sport shoulder blooms and we know that school children are in on the act: we’ve seen them pictured in the local news.

We can’t have daffodils unless we have daffodil growers, and so on the front page of Kāpiti News, Aug 25, we have highlighted a grower of daffodils, Ton Kypers, who has provided blooms for this event for twenty years. And there among the blooms, stands Faye Deakin, just one of the dozens of distributors. In our gardens, here and there, up these flowers spring, symbolizing hope, the demise of winter and a return to new life. They are well chosen as representing new life for sufferers of cancer.

But what about this name? It started out with fair dignity the Greek asphodel. In the 16th century, however, entering English, it became variously daffodilly and daffodowndilly. That seems to me to represent excitement. You glorious daffys!

However, daffodil is merely a popular name. The botanical name is Narcissus – and thereby hangs a tale: In Greek legend, Narcissus was a beautiful youth who had spurned the love of the nymph Echo. Sitting beside a pool one day he fell in love with his own reflection but his love was unrequited and he pined away and became the flower that bears his name.

Therein he has seemingly acquired eternal life; these flowers herald spring.