Human Flower Project
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Daffodils for the Miners
Daffodils are blooming early across the U.K. this year, but they always bloom early in Quarrelton, Scotland—a living memorial to the village’s coal miners.
Winter daffodil in Scotland
Photo: Rampant Scotland Newsletter
“Even when snow whitens the grass and winter storms howl through the nearby Rannoch and Linn Park Woods,” the roadsides of Quarrelton, Scotland, glow with winter daffodils. This year they had come into full bloom by January 4.
Derek Parker’s article in the Paisley (Scotland) Daily Express tells the story of Quarrelton’s annual miracle.
“Some geologists attribute the daffodils’ mid-winter presence to still-smouldering underground fires linked to the 19th century Quarrelton coal-mining industry.” The debris from deep mining, shoveled into “slag heaps.” can burn for many years.
But in this region of central Scotland the presence of winter daffodils is more than a botanical delight: “They are floral monuments to the miners who perished in the Quarrelton coal pits and the hardships which they and their families endured.” Parker writes that “wages were low, working hours were long and impoverished families lived in cramped conditions in colliers’ rows along the Beith Road and neighbouring villages like Johnstone, Elderslie, Thorn and Corseford.”
A brief history of Quarrelton says mining here began as early as 1634. A seam 100-feet thick runs through this part of Scotland, though the coal “was not of the highest quality, and dampness and flooding made it difficult for the miners to reach.”
What were those “difficulties”? Women, children, dogs and cattle fell to their deaths in ventilation shafts, an 1818 flood drowned five miners underground, and an explosion in 1860 known as “the Benston mining disaster” killed five local boys.
That was “the beginning of the end of the areas coal mining industry” and the beginning of the beginning of Quarrelton’s “metaphysical” daffodils.
Thank you, Derek Parker, for furthering this Scottish human flower project with your fine account.
FTD plans IPO
The oldest wire service in the flower business, FTD, was originally a trade association but sold out to private owners in 1994. Now FTD plans to go public.
Eleven months ago, Leonard Green & Partners LP , a Los Angeles firm, acquired FTD from Bain Capital LLC ,Fleet Equity Partners and Perry Capital LLC. Perry had acquired FTD from its florist owner-members ten years earlier after a contentious struggle within the trade organization.
Now the company will go public. This story explains some of the details of the initial public offering: “A successful IPO would give Green close to a 100% profit.”
Here’s a related story pointing out a spate of quick turnarounds.