DAFFODILS: An Ode to Spring at Reeves-Reed Arboretum
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth’s poem, I Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud, inspired by a forest encounter on April 15, 1802, depicts a lovely scene of daffodils and the pleasure and comfort one finds in nature. At Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, we treasure and are in awe of nature every day and invite the public to experience our spectacular collection of daffodils this and every spring.
A serpentine walk overlooks a roll of land ending in a glacial bowl that each year hosts up to 50,000 blooming daffodils during the month of April. The dancing wave of golden yellow flowers is a sight to behold and heralds in the spring season like nothing else. The first owners of the country estate The Clearing (that is now Reeves-Reed Arboretum) were the Wisners who planted the original daffodil clusters on the property. In 1916, when the Reeves Family purchased the homestead, Susie Graham Reeves expanded the collection, planting four to five thousand bulbs every fall, making The Clearing locally famous for its daffodils. When the hillside bloomed each spring, Mrs. Reeves would place a sign at the driveway entrance on Hobart Avenue inviting neighbors and passersby to enter and view the “daffodil dell” and anything else blooming that she thought people might enjoy seeing.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum continues this tradition every year with its continual planting and dividing of daffodils every fall, culminating in the annual springtime explosion of the “daffodil bowl” that is simply breathtaking.
Mid-April, the Arboretum celebrates this awe-inspiring garden treasure with its annual Daffodil Day festival. This year’s spring fete will be held on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 11am to 3pm, and will include an array of spring themed family activities, including crafts and games, nature walks, visiting goats, entertainment, an art exhibit, market vendors, and photo opportunities among the thousands of daffodils. Can’t make it to the celebration? The Arboretum welcomes everyone to come see what’s blooming any day of the year. Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s grounds are open to the public 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 9am to 4pm November through March, and 7am to 7pm April through October. Come sit for a spell, walk a woodland trail, stop and smell the roses, or “gaze and gaze at the host of daffodils, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
To register for Daffodil Day, and for a complete listing of children’s environmental education programs, adult horticulture workshops and classes, and special events for all ages, including volunteer opportunities, visit reeves-reedarboretum.org. Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a non-profit public garden located at 165 Hobart Avenue in Summit and is listed on both the National and State Registers of historic places.