Last week, my wife managed to persuade me to leave the computer for an afternoon to visit an area supposed to display ‘carpets’ of daffodils somewhere in between Lausanne and Yverdon. As I had some work to do, we opted for a visit during the weekend. Unfortunately, the weather let us down on Saturday, so we decided to postpone our little daffodil hunting trip to Monday (13 April). As I had seen ‘carpets’ of narcissi (the daffodil’s cousin as it were – the daffodil’s Latin name is narcissus pseudonarcissus) in the mountains for the past two summers, I was quite keen to see what visual effect hundreds, if not thousands, of these yellow flowers would create against the pale green hues of spring.
‘Eclépens , Le Mormont, La Sarraz’, article by Jacqueline
As my wife had convinced some friends who live in the former Celtic lands of the region called the Three Lakes (canton of Fribourg for them) to join us, we were even able to enjoy a lift. Unfortunately for me, this meant that our friends were expecting me to guide them to the place even though I had never been there and I was relying on a picture I had taken of the Internet article my wife had found about the flowers (which are called jonquilles in French). Our sense of disorientation was compounded by the fact that the railway station of Eclepens, described as our starting point in the article, lies roughly a kilometre away from the village that bears the same name.
As most roads in the region pass by the gare d’Eclepens (roughly a hundred metres before the cement factory, just after the bend), we eventually got there. However, I did not read the text on the picture properly and we ended up paying a visit to a 17th century canal which had been dug up to link Yverdon to Morges (even though it was never completed to its intended full length – no stretch from Eclepens to Morges was ever dug up). Then, again, we did not read the directions properly (‘from the canal, a few minutes’ walk will bring you to a forest carpeted with daffodils’) and we turned our heels only a few hundred metres from the start of the daffodil ‘carpets’ (although this time I was not to blame), fearing that we had come too late (daffodils are said to bloom from mid-March until early April).
Perseverance being one of my personality traits, I was determined not to leave without having seen some daffodils, so I decided to leave behind both my wife and our friends and run (or walk) until I would see some. Roughly some 10 to 12 minutes later (and having followed a kind of half circle), I saw my first daffodils. I even shot a picture just so as to prove that I had not been the subject of some hallucination. 😉
Soon we were all standing or squatting in front of the small ‘carpet’ of daffodils taking pictures… Even though the daffodils were no longer in full bloom and there were not many of them, we were happy to have seen some. From there, we decided to proceed along the same path, hoping that we would see more.
This proved to be the case a little further. Unfortunately, the daffodils we saw were nearly all past their prime.
A little further, almost hidden by some beehives, I came across a path that went through literally ‘carpets’ of narcissi pseudonarcissi: if only we had come a couple of days earlier what a pleasure it would have been to the eye.
Better late than not at all, I suppose. Anyhow, I still managed to catch sight of some daffodils in relatively good shape. What an elegant flower, what a colourful ode to spring!
Should this post have been enough to entice you, dear reader, to go to Eclepens next year, please note that it is forbidden to pick daffodils.
However, you do not have to wait that long: in about a month’s time, their cousin, the real narcissus, can be admired on the mountains above Vevey and Montreux. Not only is the narcissus as elegant a flower, but it has such a delicate scent.
Montreux, 12 April 2015
On 30 May, the city of Montreux will be again (i.e. after close to half a century) paying its respect to this true star of the Swiss Riviera by organising a ‘Fête des narcisses’ (do not miss my forthcoming post, ‘Resurrecting an old flower fest on the Riviera’).
Links to other spring excursions
- Short trip to Italy … back with some crampons and running poles
- This time, thousands and thousands of narcissi at Les Pléaides
- Highlights of 2014, a personal recollection