Fields of Gold

Have you ever wandered through a reclaimed woodland and come upon an abandoned homestead? Perhaps all that is left is a stone foundation and a few time-tested plants, such as a peony, century plant or Solomon’s Seal which manage to survive for decades without human care. And have you ever wondered, what will become of the plants that you’ve tended to all these years, once you are no longer around?

Back in my high school days, I came upon this open field of daffodils while exploring the woodlands off the road that I lived on. There may well have been a no trespassing sign, but all I can remember was being as enchanted as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I  had no idea whose property I was on, nor who was responsible for this field of gold.

Guess what? That field is still there. And fortunately, you won’t be trespassing if you visit today. In 2005, this 32 acre parcel was donated to our local land preservation group, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, aka DNRT, by its last private owner, William Parsons. Thank you Mr. Parsons, and thank you DNRT!              

Now, it wasn’t Mr Parsons who planted all those narcissi; it was a gentlemen by the name of Raymond Pettey. The story I‘ve since been told is that Mr Pettey decided to plant the daffodils during the 1940’s as a cut flower crop, when the supply of spring flowers from Holland was cut off due to World War II. Once the war ended there wasn’t much of a demand for locally sourced cut flowers. The daffodils remained and multiplied.

The daffodil field property is now known as the Parsons Reserve and the fields and trails are maintained by DNRT. The main entrance to the property is on Horseneck Rd. in Russell’s Mills Village. The Reserve is open to the public, but a modest $2.00 donation during daffodil season is requested to help offset the cost of maintaining the trails and fields . There are things to consider before you visit. Parking is very limited, and more and more people make a pilgrimage each spring. There is a slight hill to climb, and it takes about 8-10 minutes on foot before you reach the fields. As you would expect, you  are not allowed to pick bouquets. Visit DNRT’s webpage for more detailed information of this and other properties, and of course, support their efforts if you can by becoming a member.

When is peak time? I was able to capture these images early in the morning last April 15th (2017). Our prolonged 2018 winter has meant we’re having a late start to spring, and my guess is that the daffodils will probably be at least a week late this season.

Thank you Mr. Pettey. You probably had no idea that your fields of gold would delight and inspire so many years later.


6 thoughts on “Fields of Gold”

  1. These beautiful fields of gold are truly a gift that keeps giving.
    Thank you Katherine for the bit of history and thank you Mr. Parsons for your extraordinary gift.

  2. Years ago my co-worker Stacy and I were at Sylvan picking up plants. As we were leaving the woman behind the counter mentioned that the daffodil fields might not have gone by. we should experience seeing them, she said, and gave us directions. We found the place and were enchanted despite the neglect and wild feeling. I brought my husband there more recently and found the new signage and chipped paths. Different experience, but so gratifying — learning the town has accepted ownership and a volunteer team maintains pathways and invasives, and that the daffodil fields will endure into the future.

  3. When I was a kid, there was a stone foundation of an old house in the woods near us. I always visited in the spring for the hundreds of daffodils that still bloomed there. Your post brought back some great memories, Katherine!

  4. Inspiring photos and article, thank you for sharing. I have a wooded area surrounding my backyard which is a favorite area for deer to rest. As we know, daffodils are resistant to deer munching, so they are the perfect plant for my yard. I better get busy!

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