Experimenting, Learning New Things — Keep Your Brain Sharp
I am always experimenting. As I was planning this particular project, I thought about an analogy to business. But, first, let me share the project.
According to Harvard Studies, any mentally stimulating activity (even doing research for this blog post!), should help to exercise and stimulate your brain. Common activities you can sneak into your day such as reading, taking courses (even online courses), word puzzles, math problems… it’s all good. Experiment with things that require manual dexterity along with using your brain, such as drawing, painting, gardening, sculpting, pottery, and other crafts.
While deciding on subjects to photograph last spring, I noticed that all of the big box stores had spring bulbs. They were gorgeous, blooming in just about every color imaginable! My youngest daughter, Shannon, has always loved hyacinths. I agree that hyacinths smell heavenly and have some dreamy colors, especially after a very long cold Michigan winter. But, for some reason, I have always been drawn to daffodils.
What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?
According to the American Daffodil Society, there is no difference, the two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus. The American Daffodil Society says “daffodil” is the preferred name unless you are preparing a scientific writing.
When I was a young girl, living in the country in Michigan, daffodils almost always seem to coax the first honeybees to come out in the bright sunshine. Daffodils also seem to have happy little faces, don’t they? I couldn’t bring up the topic of daffodils and not share my very favorite variety.
In my opinion, nothing compares to Thalia for overall beauty and being a top choice for beginners. Thalia Daffodils have elegant, porcelain-like, pure-white heads. Not only do they appear angelic, but they smell heavenly! If this experiment with daffodils in Central Arizona is successful, I will definitely be adding Thalia Daffodils to my garden next fall!
Narcissus And Greek Mythology
From my research, it appears that the name, “Narcissus,” has no known source. The nearest link I can find is the Greek word for intoxicated (narcotic). I still remember when I was in high school back in Michigan and we studied Greek Mythology. I didn’t know, previous to this post, that there are several versions of the myth that have survived from ancient sources.
The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD); this is the story of Echo and Narcissus. (See the featured image for this post). One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed. He shouted, “Who’s there?”. Echo repeated, “Who’s there?”.
She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He didn’t realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually recognized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide. “Narcissus (mythology).” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 15 Feb 2015, 17:40 UTC. 5 Oct 2016, 23:11 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)>.
Тhe myth of Narcissus has inspired artists for at least two thousand years. His story has been immortalized in poems, songs, literature, film, visual arts such as paintings and sculpture. Our humble little narcissus or daffodils are inspiring as well!
Transplants To Arizona
I have found that when a person moves to a new state and they love gardening like I do, they try to bring some of “home” with them. When I lived in Southwest Florida, people were trying to grow lilacs and peonies like they did in the Midwest or back East. I never knew anyone that was successful as far south as we lived, but hey, maybe someone achieved decent results.
My husband, Rich, missed the great spruce trees from Michigan. You can grow them in Central and Northern Florida, but not in the sub-tropical area we used to live in.
I see similar things here in Arizona. Now, Arizona is a large and ecologically diverse state. Just about any type of weather or season you enjoy can be found here. I happen to live in the low-desert, in The Valley Of The Sun, surrounded by mountains. I live where the great saguaro cactus grows.
Back in Michigan, winters were brutal. Where I live now, summer is brutal. It’s early fall here, like it is around a lot of the country, but for those of us in Central Arizona, this is the time of year we await with great anticipation!
This week, our temperatures have moderated. The highs are in the low nineties with nighttime temps in the upper fifties to low sixties. Yesterday, it was only 80 degrees. After hitting 120+ in July, we are loving it!
Recently, I went into the garage and saw 3 bright yellow pots. My daffodil bulbs from last spring! We moved in May so I almost completely forgot about them!
I brought the pots in, not really sure what to expect. Would they be little dried up shriveled husks? As you can see below, to my great surprise, I had a bountiful harvest! The daffodil bulbs on the plate are from one pot.
According to the Netherlands Flower Bulb Institute, my daffodil bulbs need to be planted eight inches deep with the point pointing upwards. They also need 5 or 6+ hours of direct sunlight. So, I’m off to the backyard to prepare a spot for my daffodils!
If you live in an area similar to my arid Southwest garden, here are the instructions I plan on following. Fingers are crossed for success! 🙂
My Daffodil Project And Business Analogy
That’s right, I promised to share my analogy to business.
I have studied business plans and strategies most of my life. You don’t succeed without some type of plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Well, another lesson I have learned is to check things out for myself and not to take whatever I read, see, or hear at face value. If you really want to know the truth of a thing, do your own experimenting and research and find your own answers.
With my daffodil project, the odds are against me because of my location and lack of snow-covered and frozen ground. People back in Michigan certainly think I don’t live in an area to grow daffodils. So, should I listen and not even try? Or, do research and give it a go? I really want daffodils in 2017!
Of course, I found information that gives me hope that I, too, can have spring-flowering daffodils! If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know I’m not a follower. Now, I have to check out my backyard, based upon advice from the experts and then prepare the flower bed. Yes, I will create and follow a unique plan for my yard.
I strongly encourage you to run your own experiments. Are you an oil painter, water-color, or acrylic? Have you tried your hand at other mediums? As an artist, stretch yourself. Try new things with paint, experiment with mixed-media, poetry, songwriting or videography. It’s all up to you. Only your imagination will stop you from enjoying life and finding out just how far you can take things.
Much love and success to you. Keep inspiring!