Part two in a series of unique and little known attractions hidden within the world's most popular destinations.
Not a Silly Island
Though pronounced exactly the way one might read phonetically, these beautiful islands off the western coast of the United Kingdom are properly referred to as the "Isles of Scilly". Perhaps most popular or best known to travelers from the U.K. and Western Europe, these rocky and picturesque islands are considered to be in the top 10 holiday or vacation destinations by Frommers.
Considered to be an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" by the British government, perhaps compared in beauty only to the mountainous terrain and natural curved features of one Miss Nigella Lawson, The Isles of Scilly are also known for the export of the world's best Daffodils. It is this part of the Islands' history that we will explore, offering the traveler a unique experience, away from the traveling masses.
In 1951, an American Botanist from Columbia University immigrated to Bryher Island on the western side of the Isles of Scilly. With him came a wealth of cross pollination knowledge as he set out to produce an even more beautiful, longer lasting and fragrant flower. Dr. Timothy McKracken purchased a plot of land just over the hills from Hell Bay, and began the removal of rocks so that he could work the rich soil. 12 years of rock removal later, Dr. McKracken had cleared an entire acre of workable farmland.
With his first generation of blooms, McKracken had successfully spliced a Peony, a Rose and a Daffodil together. The result was a beautiful and hearty multi colored Daffodil with a strong perfumed, nearly pungent fragrance. The horror of McKracken's floral gene splicing didn't kick in until two weeks after peak blooming, when the fragrance changed from barely tolerable to head turning as the odor matured to one akin to rotting cow manure.
Distinguished as far east as Penzance and Falmouth, the Daffodil odor was declared as "Hazardous to the Health and Well Being of Britain", by Parliament that same year. McKracken was ordered to destroy the strain. The hearty Daffodil however, survives to this day. Driven to bankruptcy because of the Parliamentary declaration, the good Doctor playfully listed his daffodils with the American Botanical Society, naming the flower the "McKracken Mybottom Daffodil".
Tourists can still see the beautiful blooms the first through the third weeks of March each year near the western side of Bryher Island. By the fourth week of March, you'd best be on your way, unless you are comfortable with the smells associated with a dairy farm.