Each year for the past 10 years, Cynthia Bentley has added 100 more daffodils to the swathe of yellow along the fringe of her Okanagan property in honour of loved ones who have died from cancer.
With almost 1,000 of the perennials blooming this year, it is understandable that visitors are drawn to the location at the corner of Garland Road and Line 17 Road in Shuswap.
But Bentley said that while she welcomes the visitors, but could do without the ones who leave with more than memories and photographs.
Earlier this month, one of Bentley’s neighbours caught a couple digging up the planted daffodils, despite a sign asking they be left alone.
Bentley said upon further inspection, it seemed the couple caught taking the daffodils stopped, but there is evidence others have helped themselves to more of the flowers.
|The sign Cynthia Bentley put up next to the area where she plants 100 daffodils each year. She has crossed out the part inviting people to pick a few because too many have been dug up, stopping them from growing the next year. (Cynthia Bentley Photo)
Bentley explained she first placed the sign at the flower bed after another incident where flowers were taken a few years ago.
The symbolism associated with the vast bed of daffodils is apparent; the flower, which survives harsh winters beneath the soil to bloom early in the spring is used as an icon by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Bentley said she planted the first 100 daffodils at the end of a year where she lost several people who were near and dear to her.
“I thought, what could I do to make things just a little brighter and to honour the memory of people?” she said.
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After she created a Facebook page for the 100 daffodil project, requests from people asking her to plant daffodils in honour of their lost loved ones began coming in.
The bed of daffodils’ symbolic role recently took on an even deeper meaning for Bentley as she lost her husband 18 months ago and her sister nine months ago, both to cancer.
“At my husband’s service some people brought daffodil bulbs, people that knew me and knew that I did this,” Bentley said.
“He passed in the fall. That’s when you plant daffodils, in the fall.”
Bentley plans to continue growing her bed of daffodils and says if anyone wants to add to it or donate bulbs she will be happy for the addition; she just requests the flowers in the ground be left where they are.