Text by Tovah Martin
Dianne Mrak was not prone to succumb to “yellow fever.” She pooh-poohed the loudly hued, blaring citron-colored narcissus that we usually associate with spring. So she was scarcely listening when a fellow teacher invited her to tag along to a daffodil show years ago. But when the friend dangled the promise of pink daffodils, her curiosity was piqued. Little did she know one day her cottage garden would be filled with them.
When a doubtful Dianne agreed to attend that show with her friend in Baltimore, sure enough, she saw daffodils with a decidedly pink tint and that color anomaly cemented her romance with spring for the next half century. Dianne started with just a handful of pink daffodils in front of her apartment and steadily increased over the years as she and husband Bob moved throughout the country. The daffodils always tagged along—even when they called steamy Georgia home. Dianne became active in the Georgia Daffodil Society and coincidentally they decided to open a school for daffodil judges.To become a judge, she needed to grow one hundred varieties, which increased her baggage considerably as the family constantly relocated. Always, the emphasis was on the pink end of the spectrum—from miniatures to large-cups—that make up the narcissus clan.
Eventually, Dianne increased her scope to include toned-down lemon hues, orange, peach, cream, white, rose pink, and red. As she puts it, “You just fall in love.”