Consider the lilies at Easter: throw open the windows of both house and soul and admit the glory of the golden daffodils. Heap them up on the Paschal altars in drifts, in all their shades from white, cream and new-fangled tangerine to chrome, sepia, egg-yolk and imperial Chinese yellow. In Germany they are called Osterglocken – ‘Easter bells’ to ring in the springtime and the Resurrection; to celebrate sunshine, and the scent of the fertile flowering earth. You can still buy them for a pound a bunch in all the big supermarkets: never was magic so cheaply purchased. Earlier in the season they were being flown in too far & too chilled: they perished while yet in bud, but now a jug of brilliant yellow flowers or their paler brothers lasts for a week in an averagely heated home.
“Daffydowndilly has come up to town
In a yellow petticoat & a green gown”
Yet the stems and leaves are more grey or blue than green, especially on a damp or misty morning; wonderful shifting tints of slate through to eucalyptus, eau de nil and pale jade. Plant daffodils in bulbs in pots for doorstep, patio or windowsills; stick them in drifts in your flowerbeds or in rough patches of grass. Display them indoors in brilliant jars and vases of contrasting colours – I buy half a dozen bunches and dot them around in pink, turquoise, emerald, electric blue and lime green containers. Daffodils light up the home like sunbeams – and, my word! the scent of them!
For they pour out perfume – let no one tell you that daffs have no scent – it gushes forth, especially on a warm day when they fill a room or a garden with their bewitching giddy fragrance. Powdery, slightly gaseous, faintly rubbery, highly pollenaceous, a touch honeyed, even a trifle oily and a whiff of mackintosh. Not unrelated to the more intoxicating odours of jonquil and narcissus, daffodils are smell greener, drier, fresher. They are the first truly scented flowers of spring and that’s why we love them so well. For me they rival the rose for our national flower: currently there is a poll taking place to choose our archetypal British bird. Well, one of the great sights of Eastertide is a male blackbird, sooty-black and glossy, with his bill as yellow as the flowers hopping through the daffodils looking for love, comfort, inspiration and worms.
Let’s take a tip from him and choose a glorious new perfume to celebrate springtime and Easter. For “then my heart with pleasure fills/ And dances with the daffodils.”
May I wish you on behalf of All of Us at LES SENTEURS a peaceful, joyous and superbly scented Eastertide? Happy Easter to All our Kind Customers and Readers!