We’re preparing for a very important birthday celebration in this part of the Lake District. April 7 will mark 250 years since the birth of William Wordsworth who is arguably Britain’s most famous poet – and who wrote what is undoubtedly the world’s most famous poem.
Daffodils: we have thousands of them around here, adding wonderful colour to our favourite season. Many of our visitors come specially to see them, and – all year round – they walk over the hill to visit Wordsworth’s two most famous homes, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage.
The daffodils will be past their best by the time of the birthday. But the power of the poem lives on whatever the season. At Rydal Mount they have versions in many different languages, and a few years ago they were presented by a two-metre long decorative scroll on which Daffodils had been hand-written in Chinese.
It seems that the Chinese are great fans of our romantic poets. https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/chinese-love-for-wordsworth-and-daffodils/
But daffodils weren’t Wordsworth’s favourite flowers. A keen plantsman who once said he would have been a landscape gardener if he’d not made a success of poetry, he loved the tiny celandine, and the evergreen shrubs which thrive here in the Lakes, laurel and choisya.
One of the guides who works at Rydal Mount, Clara, has made a wreath from flowers in the garden which is being laid at the poet’s statue in Westminster by descendant members of his family. https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/flowers-from-our-garden-heading-to-westminster-abbey/
There are many events being planned throughout the anniversary year which will remind us that Wordsworth was the first mindful traveller, a man whose wide-eyed odes to the beauty of the great outdoors still help to shape how we see our landscapes. He spent most of his life here, and his poetry brought visitors to appreciate this most spectacular corner of England.
Favourite poem? We’ll skip Daffodils and choose instead The Solitary in which Wordsworth describes a scene not far from here, the solitary farmhouse and stretch of water at Blea Tarn:
…to the south
Was one small opening, where a heath-clad ridge
Supplied a boundary less abrupt and close;
A quiet treeless nook, with two green fields,
A liquid pool that glittered in the sun,
and one bare Dwelling; one Abode, no more !
It seemed the home of poverty and toil
Though not of want: the little fields, made green
By husbandry of many thrifty years,
Paid cheerful tribute to the moorland House.