field of daffodils

Field of daffodils on Mayne Island

During the past few days on Creative Potager we have been talking about shadows and the power of darkness in our creativity. When I saw this field of daffodils, its brilliance was only enhanced by the shadows. In fact, this naturalized field of bright yellow flowers comes from a dark shadow in Mayne Island’s past. I was told that the land was once owned and farmed by a Japanese family who grew the daffodils along with tomatoes that were shipped and sold in Vancouver, British Columbia. During World War II the Japanese on Mayne Island were gathered up and taken from their land to war camps in the interior of British Columbia for fear of espionage. Their land was later given to soldiers returning from the war. The daffodils stayed and bloom every spring – reminding us.

Mr. Lenard Cohen’s “Anthem” comes to mind with the line “There is a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in…

Sprout Question: Do you have a piece of work exists because that is how the light comes in? (links to your work are welcome)

Note: This field of daffodils is private property. No trespassing allowed. These photos were taken from the public roadway. The community has built a Japanese Garden in commemoration of early Japanese settlers.

Addition: After fielding several questions, I am adding the following historical references….

“On Tuesday, April 21, 1942, the CPR steamship Princess Mary came for the fifty Japanese men, women and children who waited on the Miners Bay wharf. Most of the Mayne Island residents were in attendance to shake hands and wish them well. It was a sad time for all… A week after evacuation, the first tomatoes of the season, so optimistically planted by the Japanese, were picked by their Mayne Island friends and sent off to market…. [between 1942 and 1943 growing season] In all, between 150,000 and 200,000 pounds of tomatoes were harvested. The school lost seventeen Japanese school children. Classes limped along until June and then the school closed until September 1944 for lack of pupils.” p.69-70 in Mayne Island & The Outer Gulf Islands A History by Marie Elliott (1984)

A Japanese Canadian Timeline by John Endo Greenaway

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

12 thoughts on “field of daffodils

  1. Terrill – The story you shared about the shadow side of the daffodils is bittersweet. Bitter in what happened to the Japanese community on Mayne Island during World War II; sweet in that the daffodils continue to come back.

    Sprout Question: Do you have a piece of work that exists because that is how the light comes in?

    Yes. Here is a link to “Dancing with Trees.”

    The “crack” (shadow) that lets the light in? It is beyond rare for me to write other than non-fiction.

  2. That is a very poignant story there about the Japanese soldiers being removed from the island to British Columbia, being accused of espionage. Of course at that time Asian-Americans were all suspect and the victims of severe prejudice. This reminds me of the Spencer Tracy film BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, where an innocent Japanese American was persecuted and eventually murdered.

    While looking at these exceedingly beautiful photographs, I must say I got chills down my spine. It’s amazing how ravishing so much in your area is, and yes, that’s a compelling concept with the amount of time that informs the darkness. There’s quite a bit this can lead to! Ha!

    Lovely visuals and thematic tie in here!

    • Sam, I wish I could confirm that it was Japanese soldiers that were removed but it wasn’t. These were Canadian citizens. They were civilian Canadians who had immigrated from Japan. Whole families were removed – men, women and children. I have been looking form my Mayne Island History book all morning. But here is the online link that seems to have the most information.

      Thank you for your kind words and enjoyment of the post… wonderful additions to the thoughts on shadows and light.

  3. oh terrill, great post about daffodil flower. i’m so curious about the flower’s shape. they look beautifull and i’ve just knew that japanese is grew up on vancouver and they are exist up till know even they extend the daffofil. is there behind story why they extend those?

    terrill, i always learn and get something from creative potager. i also be able to improve my english to be better, haha..

    love love love

    • Thank you Wulan. I did a quick search and could not find the an answer to your question about why Japanese extend the daffodil… but I did find this which tells me that one type of daffodil comes from Japan. Also the bulbs would have traveled in easily when the immigrated to Canada but that still doesn’t really answer your question, anyway….

      Japanese Daffodil-Suisen Road

      “According to historical records, Kyonan-machi’s speciality, Nihon Suisen (Japanese Daffodil or narcissus), was being sold to Edo residents during the middle of the Tokugawa era. At this time, the flower was being grown primarily in Motona village of the Hota area of Kyonan-machi, and has enjoyed a long history ever since.
      The Japanese daffodil blooms relatively early compared to other kinds of daffodils. In the warm Boso Peninsula, it starts to bloom at the end of October. The southern slope of Mt. Nokogiri is said to be the best place to grow suisen, and you can see it growing throughout the area.

      Suisen Road in the Ezuki area, famous for flower viewing, offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty and elegant aroma of the flower. Stop by and experience it for yourself!”

  4. Pingback: When the Sun Comes Out « Creativepotager's Blog

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