Connections: Daffodils and Buttercups

At this time of the year, my yard is awash in yellow flowers. I’ve never known exactly what they are — or if someone once did identify them for me, I’ve forgotten — but they look a bit like hardy buttercups. They create a bright, sunny carpet that covers the entire lawn, on all sides of our old house in East Hampton Village. 

A friend who is a landscape designer once remarked that my lawn is less like a lawn and more like a meadow, dotted as it is with not just these yellow mystery flowers but with tiny wild violets. That’s true, and I love it that way. 

Still, by the end of April, I have to buckle to the reality of just exactly how untidy the grounds have become — with the fallen branches of winter tossed everywhere, and clumps of spiky crabgrass among the yellow petals — and I call in Martin Soto, who, with his crew of yard men at a company called Sottessey, has been my outdoor fixer for decades now.

Another friend mentioned recently that deer don’t like the color yellow, and that this is why the forsythia bushes are often the only blasts of color to be seen in some people’s yards. We do have forsythia, and they do seem relatively undestroyed by the troupe of deer who live behind the tall old fir trees near the barn, but I don’t know if this deer-hate-yellow thing is just a suburban legend or if there is science behind it.

The flower that I really love now, in early spring, is the daffodil. The deer never do seem to touch them. Our Nikko blue and Annabelle white hydrangeas have been decimated, as have our old roses of pink and white, but the several varieties of sunshine-colored daffodils return each spring like the swallows. 

It is the variety, indeed, that I love the most, and we must have half a dozen different sorts of daffodils, from the ruffly many-cupped old-fashioned ones tinged with green to the classic canary-yellow trumpet-shaped cup to white ones with an orange center.

I’ve had neighbors complain about the little yellow flowers that carpet our yard. Apparently they can pose a danger of invading a more carefully groomed lawn. So far, that hasn’t really turned out to be a problem, at least on my side of the fence. Did I mention that these little flowers open with the sun and close as the sun goes down? Who wouldn’t love a flower that does that?