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.

Update Wednesday June 1, 2022: comment clarifies history for us “The picture in this story was not owned by the Japanese farmers. Richard Hall bought this piece of property in1922. He grew daffodils and tomatoes. When he retired he sold his greenhouses to the Japanese farmers who took them to a farm on Campbell Bay Rd, and then grew tomatoes for sale. This particular piece of property is still owned by Richard Halls relatives.” Thank you Linda!

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Addition: After fielding several questions, I am adding the following historical references….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

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada