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Daffodils: Lost Forever?

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Page 4 of Daffodils: Lost?
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MILAN, 1932

Prada, Bugatti, La Scala — Milan glittered in the 1930s, and outside of town millions of wild pheasant’s-eyes bloomed. This worthy namesake is, in the words of Michael Jefferson-Brown, a “tall, immaculate flower, boldly posed.” Like all pheasant’s-eyes it mingles well with the fresh foliage and early blooms of late-spring perennial borders — and its fragrance is sheer luxury. 9 W-GYR, 18-20”, zones 4a-7a(9bWC), from Pennsylvania. Last offered in 2007.


MRS. LANGTRY, 1869

A leading light of the Victorian daffodil renaissance, this rare beauty has milk-white petals and a crinkled yellow cup that matures to creamy white ringed with pale, canary yellow. Guy Wilson, famed breeder of new daffodils, wrote in 1929, “I hope we shall not lose altogether some of the older flowers of such undeniable beauty and grace as ‘Mrs. Langtry’.” 2 W-WWY, 18-20”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. Unfortunately we discovered that what we were selling as ‘Mrs. Langtry’ – from one of Holland’s greatest experts on historic bulbs – was actually something else. See both here, and then please help us spread the word!


ORANGE PHOENIX, EGGS & BACON, 1731

This exuberant double has been a cottage garden favorite for centuries, much like its fraternal twin ‘Butter and Eggs’. With whorls of cream-colored petals and ruffled bits of orange, it’s not only one of the best doubles for the South but, as E.A. Bowles wrote in the 1930s, “still grown wherever gardeners are wise enough to value old plants of reliably vigorous constitution.” 4 W-O, 16-18”, zones 5b-8b(10bWC), from Wisconsin. Last offered in 2017. Unfortunately we’ve lost our grower and haven’t found another yet who can guarantee true stock. We’ll keep searching, though, and hope to offer it again soon.


N. jonquilla ‘Flore Pleno’, QUEEN ANNE’S DOUBLE JONQUIL, 1611

True stock! Looking like prom dresses for honeybees, these tiny, exquisite double jonquils are fluffy with extra petals and swooningly fragrant. Don’t be fooled by sources that sell the much larger, much cheaper ‘Double Campernelle’ as ‘Queen Anne’s’. Although that’s a fine flower, the true ‘Queen’ is absolutely heart-stopping. 4Y-Y, 8-10”, zones 6b-8b(10bWC), from Holland’s greatest daffodil collector. Last offered in 2014. Our grower is increasing his stock and we hope to offer it again soon. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


RED DEVON, 1943

True stock! This fiery jewel won major awards in 1950, 1968, 1977, 1985, and the RHS AGM – one of gardening’s highest accolades – in 1993. With a broad, ruffled cup dipped in incandescent orange, it gives the spring garden a joyful jolt of intensity. It’s named for the historic “red” cattle of Devonshire, and we get a kick out of that, too. 2 Y-O, 24-26”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. Our grower is increasing his stock and we hope to offer it again soon. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SAINT KEVERNE, 1934

Winner of the Wister Award, the ADS’s highest honor, this Cornish beauty blooms vigorously from Canada to the Gulf. As Bill Finch of The Mobile Press-Register says, it’s “perfectly sculpted,” and with its slender proportions it always seems to blend in beautifully. 2 Y-Y, 16-18”, zones 4b-9a(11bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. Unfortunately we’ve lost our grower and haven’t found another yet who can guarantee true stock. We’ll keep searching, though, and hope to offer it again soon. Stay tuned with our email newsletter.


SEAGULL, 1893

Prettier than any gull we’ve ever seen, this free-flowering Victorian classic has pristine white petals that recall wings, sails, or the sweeping arms of a windmill. Its short canary cup is fleetingly edged with apricot. For best color, protect from full sun. 3 W-Y, 14-18”, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2010. We may offer it again periodically. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SHIRLEY TEMPLE, 1937

Named for the curly-haired moppet who brightened spirits during the Great Depression, this award-winning double is more commonly known as ‘Snowball’ today. With an ivory ruff of outer petals and a center rosette touched by sunshine, it’s informal, refreshing, and lightly scented. 4 W-W, 18-20” late-middle blooming, zones 4a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2009. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


SHOT SILK, 1931

An improved ‘Thalia’ (is that possible?), this rare, silky-smooth beauty has a creamy white cup and starry petals that arch back like ballet dancers. “Most graceful,” wrote McFarland in his 1938 best-seller Garden Bulbs in Color, and “just about perfection.” We think you’ll agree. 5 W-W, 14-16”, zones 5a-8a(10bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2005.


SIDELIGHT, 1940

Rarest, indeed! We can’t find anyone else in the world who’s offering this classic poet’s narcissus by Northern Ireland’s immortal Guy Wilson – and who knows when we’ll be able to offer it again? As sturdy as a pint of Guinness, it has velvety white petals and a golden eye ringed in scarlet. 9 W-GOR, late blooming, 14-18”, zones 4a-7a(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2015. A couple of friends in the ADS have questioned the authenticity of ‘Sidelight’ (which came to us from one of the Netherlands’ greatest daffodil collectors), so we’ve stopped selling it while we investigate further.


Page 4 of Daffodils: Lost?
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