Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Narcissus

With the advent of spring, just around the corner, many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are awaiting the prospect of warmer temperatures with anticipation. One sure sign of spring is the first peek of spring bulbs poking their green shoots above the soil after their long winter hibernation.

Spring bulbs of any sort remain some of my most favourite flowers, from the humble crocus which is first, to the highly scented hyacinth, to my favourites of all, the jonquil and the daffodil. Who has not seen fields and fields of wild daffodils in pictures or in real life and not been impressed? Or, who has not smelt the heady scent of its cousin the jonquil and not thought instantly of spring?

No matter what you call them either narcissus or daffodils these flowers signify spring the most to me. There was always what seemed to be an eternal wait after winter to see their green shoots either in pots or clumps in the garden and then for them to grow and bloom in the most wonderful shades of white, yellow and orange.

Narcissus is the botanic name for this genus of mainly hardy, mostly spring-flowering, bulbs in the Amaryllis family native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. With several 100 different types it is one of the most prolific of spring bulbs.

It is surprising of how many of the spring bulbs whose names have come from or have been inspired by Greek mythology. Hyacinth, crocus, and anemone all have origins steeped in legend and mythology, which appeals to my romantic side. None so more, as the narcissus. Narcissus or Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος), is possibly derived from ναρκη (narke) meaning "sleep or numbness," In Greek mythology Narcissus was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. Being exceptionally proud he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis saw this and attracted Narcissus to a pool where he saw his own reflection in the waters and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus died. Another version has it that he fell into the water and drowned as he tried to embrace his own image. In both versions, the Narcissus plant first sprang from where he died.

The subject of many paintings and artists renderings the legend has served as the inspiration for many, including Carravagio, Waterhouse and Dali with each treating the subject in quite different ways.

Photographs and modern day interpretations also abound of the legend. I am always amazed at how artists take a subject and make it their own, and wish that I had the talent!

However, the myth has also given us Narcissism the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness, which is something that Savoir Faire does not condone in any form.

Hopefully Spring is being embraced with the bloom of the narcissus in some form!


  1. David, spring bulbs are my favorite with tulips topping the list. I do love narcissus and also your story is just delightful!

    Art by Karena

  2. David, I love the segue you've made in this posting. I'd forgotten that Narcissus died in the story — a little cautionary tale for all things skin-deep. I hadn't seen Carravagio's Narcissus, either, so thanks for your research!

  3. Hooray! The bulbs are up and in bloom. Truly they're my favorite flower as well, such harbingers of hope after a long winter. Crocus are my favorite and I've been trying to cultivate a thick carpet of them all over the yard for the past few years. Also autumn crocus as a last hurrah before winter sets in!

  4. David, what lovely pictures. I love to see open fields of wild growing flowers, which daffodils will become over time rather than fussy beds of individually planted flowers.

    Also, I love the Narcissus art, particularly the Carravagio.

  5. Love the flowers...Its great to see fields of them, I find it inspiring...I really liked Dali´s take on Narcissus

    The Black Label

  6. Nice picks!

    I love the spring!

    A big hug!

    Hope your well and loving the summer! where going into winter but im loving the fashion. Ill drop in again soon xx

  8. I'm so happy to see the Narcissus. I had planned to do a post on the Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival here in Arkansas, but I missed it and then a hail storm trampled what was left...next year

  9. Many thanks for all of your comments.

    Catherine, what a shame, oh well as you say next year.

    Sam. enjoy winter as we are over it here!

    Bor, it is a wonderful season.

    Andy, yes I too thought Dali's take was interesting.

    Belle and Mark, I too had not seen Carravagio's Narcissus before.

    Il duce, I too love the crocus as they are so sweet. Hope the carpet is coming along

  10. loving everything you've posted

  11. if you know what a mirror does to your mind, you will be baffled. take a look at your love-ones in the mirror.

  12. than you see how they watch themself.
    it was very scary when i found out how ugly a she perceived herself in the mirror. and than i found the scam. it can be summarised as a confusion between the false mirror appaerance and the public appaerence. unmirrored, real, man.


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