Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Dymock Daffodils and the Dymock Poets

Below, St Mary's Church, Kempley which is on the daffodil trail. Photo taken when we visited for my birthday outing last year. I wish I had a photo of the daffs (which are amazing), but they are on You Tube and you can call up images from Google.

"From Marcle Way,
From Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromesberrow,
Redmarley, all the meadowland daffLinkodils seem
Running in golden tide to Ryton Firs,
To make the knot of steep little wooded hills
Their brightest show .........."

This fragment of poetry from Lascelles Abercrombie, one of the "Georgian" poets who became the Dymock poets in 1914 when they had a brief-lived colony in the area, tells you something of the beauty of this area at this time of year. Edward Thomas, of whom I am very fond, was ne of their number for a brief spell.

Here are some notes written by a dear friend of mine (J):

"The daffs used to be picked by local families, including my Granny and all her children, which included my Dad of course. They were sent to Covent Garden to be sold as cut flowers, and earned local families a valuable addition to their income. When they picked the daffs it wasn’t from the woods, but from the fields. The wood daffs, although exactly the same wild variety, tend to have shorter sLinktems, due to environment I suppose, so the longer stemmed field daffs were best for selling. Nearly every field in the whole area was carpeted in them. I remember as a small child seeing them, and Granny still picking them to sell. She used to pick them in bud and have them in the scullery in buckets of cold water ready to go on the milk train to London first thing the following morning.

Thankfully the daffs in the woods have always kept going, but farming practices in the late sixties and for the next few decades, really hit the field daffs. Picking never seemed to bother the daffs, they were abundant every year although the fields were often stripped by pickers – but pesticides, ploughing, spraying verges etc nearly wiped the field ones out, Now they are protected and picking is banned.

Below - we were too late for the daffs in Kempley church yard, but these Cowslips put on a pretty show.

HERE is a link to the BBC iPlayer radio programme about both daffs and Dymock poets.

If you fancy seeing them for yourself, try HERE for details of the Open Day(s).

1 comment:

  1. What a good thing that J has written down this memory of a time and a custom long gone. A shame you missed the Dymock daffodils but the cowslips must have been lovely.