Daffodils are a thing of beauty, especially those growing along Old Natchez Trace.

By Laura Turner 

March 28, 2018 

The daffodil will be the star of the show at the upcoming American Daffodil Society Convention. Franklin Marriott in Cool Springs, April 5-8. Pictured is an Old Town Historic Daffodil found along the Old Natchez Trace. 

After enduring winter’s brutal arctic blasts and record-breaking rains in February, it brings me great joy to see the daffodils decorating our scenic, historic rural roads and landscapes. 

Daffodils are the flower for the month of March.  They belong to the genus Narcissus and carry the common name of daffodil.  They have bloomed for centuries and legend has it they get their name from the Greek god Narcissus, who was so in love with his reflection in the river that he drowned trying to capture it.  Daffodils growing along riverbanks soon began to be associated with his name due to the beauty of their reflected image in the water.

Along Old Natchez Trace by Old Town the daffodils are now dancing down the riverbank to the Harpeth.  In the 1940s Mrs. Virginia Goodpasture, who lived at Old Town with her family, planted historic daffodils along the roadside.  The bulbs she planted are called historic daffodils because they were ones known in gardens before 1940.  These daffodils continued to multiply and are a harbinger of hope and spring for travelers along the Trace.  Last fall Sen. Bill and Tracy Frist, who live at Old Town now, added 7,000 bulbs to this living legacy left by Mrs. Goodpasture.

Many of those bulbs are blooming now.  We are grateful to the experts at the American Daffodil Society who helped guide us through this large planting.  Bulbs from historic gardens in Georgia, Tallahassee, Fla., Louisiana and Natchez, Miss., were donated to the Old Town Historic Daffodil Project.  Farms in Maury and Warren counties in Tennessee provided thousands of the historic bulbs called Narcissus pseudonarcissus to this project.  

A generous gesture last February helped tie both ends of the Old Natchez Trace together in time and place.  Historic daffodil expert Sara Van Beck had directed me to David Atkins in Natchez, who I was told rescued these historic daffodils from road and construction projects and replanted them in the city of Natchez.  Citizens for Old Natchez Trace did their duty and rescued some of the daffodils at our end of the Trace before the sensitive template road project to repave the Old Natchez Trace by the Williamson County Highway Department was done in 2014.  

Atkins asked Mayor David Grennell of Natchez if they could donate to the Old Town Historic Daffodil Project.  The mayor agreed and over 1,200 daffodils which had recently bloomed in Natchez were planted on the old dirt roadbed of the Old Natchez Trace at Old Town.

I was told by daffodil experts that these “daffs” might pout for a year and not bloom as they get established and settled with the old-timers who have been blooming here for decades.  I was also told that daffodils do not like to get their feet too wet.  I was worried about that when recent rains flooded the Old Natchez Trace by Old Town several times last month.  Some snow and freezes have bullied the bright yellow heads of these hopeful flowers now part of the living legacy growing along the Old Natchez Trace by the Old Town. Yet, they will endure and there is a life lesson in that.  

Coincidentally, The National Convention of the American Daffodil Society will be held at the Franklin Marriot in Cool Springs April 5-8.  There will be some amazingly beautiful daffodils on show but my heart will always be with the sweet little Narcissus pseudonarcissus perennially blooming along the Old Natchez Trace by Old Town for generations to come.

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