Our main daffodil field is bursting with yellow flowers. Today was the prettiest day yet for them. I snapped the picture above on Sunday, but they've progressed even more in just the past couple of days. Too bad my photography skills haven't progressed.
Yes, I see the blurred one in front. I also see the edge of one of the Chesapeake Bay Children's arms in the upper right corner. I know. I know.
And now the conclusion of my grandmother's 1970-something speech on daffodils that she gave to a convention in Richmond:
"...Almost any variety of daffodil can be planted in this area, with expectation of a good return. This Mid-Atlantic Region is the second largest commercial bulb growing area of the country. The Pacific Northwest, comprising the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California, has the cool, moist climate and good, deep soil that daffodils love and more are grown there for commercial distribution than anywhere else in the country.
These are just a few random facts and thoughts which I have put together. Now Mr. Luther S. will give you a picture of the early history of how daffodils began to be grown commercially in Gloucester and Mathews Counties. I present to you, Mr. Luther S."
Great. Way to leave us hanging high and dry. There is no transcript of Mr. Luther's speech.
So exactly how did the commercial daffodil business get started in Mathews and Gloucester? Who decided it was the perfect place to grow them (because it is)? How did so many people jump on the band wagon? Why did so many people jump off the band wagon? (Today there are a fraction of the commercial growers there used to be.)
When I was young my grandfather, who had over 13 acres in bloom at one time, would take me over to Mr. Luther's house to talk daffodils. I always chased butterflies or stared up at the cloud formations or wondered why mosquitoes or sisters were invented and never paid any attention to what they were talking about. I wish I had.
In the '60's and '70's daffodil growers were rampant around these parts. In 1967 there were over 15 separate daffodil growers in Mathews County alone, farming over 400 acres in aggregate. A friend pointed out to me that certain students were let out of school early to pick flowers for the commercial growers.
No doubt there are plenty of people out there who might know the origins of daffodil farming in Mathews and Gloucester. OK, there are probably two or three people who know. One? Of all people I ought to know given how close I was to an operation. Chances are I did know at one time, but I gave up hope on resurrecting any functioning memory cells a long time ago. It's a silly exercise in futility. An exercise in silly futility.
If anyone is interested in more facts and figures on daffodils farms in Mathews and Gloucester in the year 1967, let me know. Fortunately my grandfather kept copious records with the names of every farmer, their location, the acreage and how many boxes of blooms and bushels of Something they produced. (His writing is illegible so for now it's bushels of Something.)