ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

My Victorian Garden in Spring: Heirloom Daffodils and Other Bulbs

Updated on August 23, 2017
chezchazz profile image

Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

Gardening with Antique Perennial Daffodils and Other Heirloom Spring Bulbs

This page features antique and heirloom daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs that we grow in our own garden.

Read and learn about rare hard-to-find species narcissus/daffodils from as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries, with lots of photos of the antique perennial daffodils and other heirloom spring flowers we grow from bulbs.

You will also find some fun features including polls and a quizz, so have fun and enjoy our garden tour.

Gardening with Antique Perennial Daffodils and Other Heirloom Spring Bulbs is the second in our Victorian Garden series, a companion to Gardening with Rare and Unusual Perennial Tulips and Growing Heirloom and Old-Fashioned Roses.

Our zone 5 garden is very much still a work in progress and is being created to go with our 1880 Queen Anne Victorian. We try to stick to plants favored in the Victorian era, although we are not that strict about that for now. As we discover more age-appropriate bulbs and plants we will pass some of the "newer" heirlooms on to our neighbors and clients who own later homes such as craftsman, bungalow, cottage, and four square styles that were built circa 1900 through the 1920s.

The Advantages of Gardening with Heirloom Bulbs

There are many advantages to gardening with heirloom bulbs. Many of these older types are hardier and many antique varieties of daffodils are perfumed with lovely scents reminiscent of jasmine and gardenias.

More recent hybrids may be bigger or come in unusual colors (pink daffodils, anyone?) but, as far as we and plants are concerned, bigger and/or different is not necessarily better.

We'll be adding to this page as the late bloomers open and nod their heads toward my camera, so please bookmark this lens or follow us on twitter for updates and notices.

Rip Van Winkle, 1884

Rip Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle

This whimsical dwarf daffodil with its spiky blooms is the earliest to bloom for us. It is about 8 inches tall and is also easy to force indoors, in case you aren't within the recommended zones. It is named after the eponymous main character who, in Washington Irving's 1819 short story, wakes after sleeping for 20 years.

A Surprise Daffodil

This beautiful bloom showed up for the first time this year in a bed of yellow daffodils planted three years ago.

We have not been able to identify it, and don't know if it is a fluke or if a mislabeled bulb was planted in the bed in the fall of 2000 and just decided to show its pretty little head now. If you are a "narcissist" and are familiar with this daff, please let us know.

A Swath of Naturalized Daffodils

A Swath of Naturalized Daffodils
A Swath of Naturalized Daffodils
Heirloom Narcissus Queen Anne's Jonquil
Heirloom Narcissus Queen Anne's Jonquil

Queen Anne's Double Jonquil, 1611

N. jonquilla 'Flore Pleno'

A gorgeous 2012 addition
to Our Victorian Garden

'Flora Pleno' is one of the rarest and most difficult to find daffodils. The folks at Old House Gardens call Queen Anne's Double Jonquils "prom dresses for honeybees," and describe them as "swooningly fragrant." I couldn't have said it better myself.

One of my personal favorites, the "Queen" is a full flower that is smaller and much more refined than it's larger cousin, the double campernelle (shown further down on this page). It has a light ethereal look despite being packed with petals.

N. jonquilla 'Flore Pleno' is about 10 inches tall and although rated for zone 6, as you can see from the photo, does beautifully in my zone 5 garden in a bed with a western exposure.

The bloom has not fully opened in the photo, but we will update it in a day or two when the petals unfold. (Update 4/24/12: Photo added below. Please scroll down to second photo that follows.)

Weather Alert: We Interrupt this Page....April 23, 2012

April 23rd Snow Covered Garden
April 23rd Snow Covered Garden

The week of April 17th was unseasonably warm, as was most of March and April. Everything was blooming about a month earlier than usual. When we woke up on the morning of Monday, the 23rd of April, we found everything covered with snow.

My beloved "Glory of the Sun" tulip was crushed and broken from the weight of the heavy wet snow. Queen Anne's jonquils were buried, but I dug them out, cut the frozen blossoms, and placed them in some water in the house. All but one eventually opened, their gentle sweet scent drifting in the air. (You can see a photo below)

However, I regret to report that we lost two other early tulips that would have bloomed this week, and most of the remaining daffodils. I expect that mid- and late-season tulips and other spring bulbs will bloom fine, except for the few whose stems were snapped in two by the snow.

BTW - that beautiful arc of branches framing the top of the photo is a usually upright branch from a neighbor's tall old birch tree bent by the snow. We still have some snow outside, and may get another inch or two before tomorrow, but hope that is the last of it. The late snow is not unusual in Central New York -- but the warmer weather that preceded it this year certainly is an anomaly.

"Rescued" Queen Anne's Double Jonquils

Queen Ann Jonquils in Vase
Queen Ann Jonquils in Vase
Source

Poet's Narcissus

N. Poeticus Recurvus (pre-1600s)

The fragrant Poet's Narcissus grows wild in Spain and appears in English herbals from the early 1600s, although presumably was known prior to that, at least in Spain.

In the United States, Poet's Narcissus or Pheasant's Eye, as it is also known, dates to colonial times when settlers brought some of the precious bulbs from Europe for their own gardens. Grows about 12-14 inches tall in zones 4-6.

"Butter and Eggs" Daffodils from 1776
"Butter and Eggs" Daffodils from 1776

Narcissus 'Butter and Eggs'

A Survivor from 1776

The 'Butter and Eggs' Daffodil is an heirloom from the southern United States, but hardy to zone 5.

At least as old as its native country, this double yellow daffodil has survived as a privately shared "passalong" plant for over 235 years.

The 'Butter and Eggs' daffodil can be distinguished from the few similar doubles available today because it has center petals a little bit darker than the outer petals.

Narcissus "Stella" from 1869
Narcissus "Stella" from 1869

Narcissus 'Stella'

A "New" (for us) Heirloom Daffodil from 1869

'Stella' is, as the name suggests, a star-like daffodil in two shades of the prettiest yellow.

She has a small ruffled darker yellow trumpet surrounded by narrow graceful petals in a soft lemon hue.

N. Stella is a new addition to our garden (planted fall 2011, first blooms mid-April 2012).

Doesn't it make you happy just to see her?

Narcissus medioluteus "Twin Sisters " dates to 1597
Narcissus medioluteus "Twin Sisters " dates to 1597

Narcissus medioluteus

aka 'Twin Sisters'

Twin Sisters Daffodil, known as the wildflower 'Primrose Peerless' prior to 1597, has two blooms per stem in white with small lemon yellow cups. It has also been called April Beauty, Cemetery Ladies, and Loving Couples.

Narcissus medioluteus stands about 12-14 inches tall and, although usually indicated as appropriate for zones 6-8, it does fine in our zone 5 garden, where it blooms and scents the air in early to mid-May.

Are You Narcissistic or Tulip-rific?

Do You Prefer Tulips or Daffodils?

More Heirloom Daffodils

Mary Copeland, 1913

English horticulturist W.F.M. Copeland II, named this double daffodil after his daughter Mary in 1913.

Narcissus Mary Copeland features long creamy white petals and a centre interspersed with lemon and orange-red and has an enchanting scent.

No wonder it was one of the most popular of the double daffs throughout the 20th century!

Another Mystery Daffodil - Can You Identify It? - A Surprise Appearance in April 2012 and again in 2013

Two views of our mystery double yellow daffodil
Two views of our mystery double yellow daffodil

Last year we had two unusual blooms in one of our groupings of 'Mary Copeland' Daffodils (see previous photo). They look pretty much the same as 'Mary' and have the same scent, but the outer petals are yellow fading to white instead of white. This year three of them showed up.

These beauties do not match any variety we have ordered or planted, and we haven't been able to identify it through our research.

Could it be a sport of Mary Copeland or a mis-identified bulb?

Could it be Twink - a 1925 rarity we've yet to purchase?

What do you think?

We'd Appreciate Your Help...

Can you help us identify this daffodil?

See results
Double Narcissus Poeticus 'Daphne'
Double Narcissus Poeticus 'Daphne'

Heirloom Narcissus Poeticus Plenus 'Daphne'

aka Double Poet's Daffodil

The Heirloom Daffodil 'Daphne' is a sport of Narcissus Oderatus that was discovered prior to 1914. It blooms mid- to late season and grows to about 12 inches tall. Best of all, 'Daphne' has a wonderful spicy sweet fragrance that reminds me of gardenias.

'Daphne' is one of the few daffodils that is suited to growing in warmer climates and is rated for zones 4 to 11.

Narcissus Mrs. Langtry: Named for Victorian Actress, Lily Langtry

Dating to 1869, the graceful Mrs. Langtry is a very rare yellow-cupped white daffodil that stands about 16 inches tall. For zones 5-7.
Dating to 1869, the graceful Mrs. Langtry is a very rare yellow-cupped white daffodil that stands about 16 inches tall. For zones 5-7.
Narcissus x odorus 'Plenus'
Narcissus x odorus 'Plenus'

Double Campernelle, 1601

Narcissus x odorus 'Plenus'

Double Campernelle is a favorite daffodil from over 400 years ago. It is a cheerful medium yellow -- a shade that is neither too soft nor too strong. Narcissus x odorus 'Plenus' has a scent that reminds me of jasmine.

Fragrant and double for a triple delight.

Grows 10-12 inches tall and is recommended for zones 5-8a.

Narcissus Thalia

Multiple Blooms and Scented

Another lovely scented daffodil, the exquisite Narcissus Thalia dates to 1916.

It is the oldest cultivated form of the wild N. triandrus and will grow 14 to 16 inches tall in zones 4 through 8.

Narcissus 'White Lady'

An old fashioned daffodil from 1897

With a ruffled yellow cup and pristine white petals, 'White Lady' was a favorite of Mrs. King, the founder of the Garden Club of America and author of nine garden books. Mrs. King called 'White Lady' "A regal beauty." It is easy to see why.

White lady grows to about 16 inches tall and is suitable for zones 5 through 8a. This is one of the rarest of the heirloom daffs.

Which is your favorite heirloom Daffodil?

Which daffodil on this page do you like best?

See results

Enjoy Daffodils All Year Long Through Timeless Art

Girls Picking (Heirloom 19th Century) Daffodils as painted by William Gersham Collingwood
Girls Picking (Heirloom 19th Century) Daffodils as painted by William Gersham Collingwood
Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1912)
Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1912)

Above: Daffodils by William Gersham Collingwood

Right: Narcissus by John William Waterhouse

Neo-Classical artist John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917) was a renowned Neo-Classical artist known for lifelike, hauntingly sensual paintings. Born in Italy and raised in England, Waterhouse preferred historical, mythological, and literary subjects. His work had strong romantic Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian influences.

Both are Available at AllPosters.com in a variety of formats and sizes to suit your decorating style and budget.

Left: Narcissus, Botanical illustration by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Right: Jonquilles et Citrons (Daffodils and Lemons) by Isy Ochoa.  Both available in a variety of sizes and formats at
Left: Narcissus, Botanical illustration by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Right: Jonquilles et Citrons (Daffodils and Lemons) by Isy Ochoa. Both available in a variety of sizes and formats at | Source

Assorted Other Bulbs: Crocus chrysanthus 1914

White Crocus chrysanthus, 1914 heirloom spring bulb
White Crocus chrysanthus, 1914 heirloom spring bulb

Muscari Botryoides - Grape Hyacinth

Muscari botryoides is a vigorous, cold-hardy (zone 3-7) blue grape hyacinth that dates to 1576. It grows 6-8 inches tall with long-lasting blooms. It is not readily available, having been replaced by modern armeniacum and aucheri hybrids, but worth searching for, especially in colder regions.

Allium Karataviense - aka Turkestan onion

Allium Karataviense
Allium Karataviense

This ornamental dwarf onion blooms in spring for three or four weeks in shades of ivory to soft pink/lavender. With sweetly scented large (to five inches in diameter) globular flower heads, this allium is grown as much for its hosta-like blue-gray-green foliage as for its blooms. A lovely short, sturdy, decorative additon to gardens in zones 5 through 8.

Source

We're Glad You Stopped By

Please sign our Guestbook and let us know what you think about this page.

Your Feedback is very important to us.

© 2011 Chazz

Before you leave our garden...

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 3 years ago from New York

      @GEMNITYA5: Thank you, Gem! appreciate it

    • profile image

      GEMNITYA5 3 years ago

      Expressive YELLOW spring-daffodils, i really like them.

      Also shared on Facebook :)

      Blessings

      GEM

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 3 years ago from New York

      @paulahite: Thank you, Paula. Will do.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Can't wait to see these around my house! I've featured your lens on our NEW G+ page today. Please stop by and join the group.

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/10593843672309975630...

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 3 years ago from New York

      @BarbRad: Thanks, Barb. Sorry about the problem with the duel module - I've reported it as a glitch. Please come back and try again in a few days or more and let me know if it works.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 3 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I tried to put my two cents into the duel, but after countless attempts, it wouldn't work. Sorry. I'm a daffodil fan. You showcased some lovely ones.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      A garden of delights. So much loveliness. Thanks for the visual feast.

    • VineetBhandari profile image

      VineetBhandari 4 years ago

      Beautiful :)

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      All spring flowers are lovely! Thanks for your nice lens!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Beautiful!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      Love the N. Poeticus Recurvus. Nicely done.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love early spring flowers! Around here we look for the first yellow daffodil blooms around Valentine's Day. Things were delayed a bit this year, but once it warmed up and everything bloomed, it cooled down just enough that the flowers stayed around longer than usual. Overall, a gorgeous spring!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Lovely! :>)

    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens! :D

    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      Trumpet Daffodils are my favorite! I love all kinds and colors of Daffodils and Narcissus! :D

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      How beautiful these flowers are. They are a joy to behold.

    • profile image

      Sue-DN 4 years ago

      What a beautiful garden you must have. I'm pleased to say that the daffodils are just starting to appear for another year - such lovely sunny colours after a long, hard winter.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens, I didn't know there were so many varieties - beautiful pics.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! You've inspired me to plant some daffodil bulbs this fall!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Love this lens! Just beautiful and it makes me smile!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      Informative page! Selecting flowers to plant is always difficult. I tend to go for those that have scent, like the Narcissus Thalia.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      @AlleyCatLane: Thanks "Alley" - you can see a bit more of the garden in pictures I have on red gage. Hopefully will have more this year as these photos were taken while we were still putting in the hardscape and designing the gardens. Our garden is actually rather tiny as we have a small triangle shaped corner lot, but we try to maximize every little square inch of it.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I love your antique flower lenses. Please let us get a peek of your gardens in landscape view, not just the close-ups. You must live in such a beautiful environment.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      Lovely lens. I enjoy springtime when the daffodils show their happy faces. It makes me get back outdoors with my camera after the winter.

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 5 years ago

      I grow heirloom vegetables each year, but it hadn't occurred to me to select heirloom flowers also. Beautiful collection you have here.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Love this lens, Chazz! I chose it for my April quest. My daffodils are just beginning to bloom.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      I just love bulb flowers. They're the best. Beautiful lens. d

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      I plant daffodils near my entryways and where I can see masses of them from the house. They cheer me up so much when the winter grey is getting to be too much. Although this winter in Vermont we've had nearly no snow and now we're having a week of summer weather in March - so I'm anxiously awaiting the first shoots of the 100 bulbs I planted last fall in my new garden. Lovely lens!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 5 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Daffodils are usually my first real indicator of spring. We have a large spread of them in the landscaping around the store. Beautiful.

    • Ellen Mitchell profile image

      Ellen Mitchell 5 years ago

      Lovely lens. I am so excited for Spring and the early blooms of the new growing season. Thanks for sharing.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      Daffodils are my favorite flower!!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      Beautiful lens, Chazz. The photos of the daddodils are lovely! *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to My Squid Angel Blessings 2012 in the "Home & Garden Gardening" neighborhood.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      You have convinced me that it is time to try planting with bulbs. The daffodil is one of my favorites.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I just saw some daffodils blooming yesterday...how wonderful to know that spring is finally here! :) This is a beautiful lens!

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      What a lovely garden. It must be something to wake up to every day. Thank you for sharing a little of it with everyone.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fabulous page about perennial gardening! Well done. I learned a lot about bulb gardening and wanted to let you know I found your page on the home page of 'squidoo.com' today.

      Thank you for all of the information you have provided here about spring bulb plants and tips for hardier and many antique varieties of daffodils! You have saved me a lot of time.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I'm looking at two feet of snow out my window right now, but on this page Spring's busting out all over. Thank you for the sunshine! *blessed*

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Another beautiful lens.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens, a nice walk through spring! Blessed! Wish my lenses looked this nice, but I'm working on it.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I miss that burst of spring flowers since I live in Florida. Sure we have colorful flowers all year, so you wouldn't think it a problems but the bulbs were always special when I lived in colder areas.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for sharing.

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Awesome garden theme.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      The flowers featured in this article used to adorn my childhood church's sanctuary every Easter Sunday. The place was brightly colored and smelled so fresh and fragrant. Thanks for bringing back happy memories!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Hi Chazz, great lens. I love daffodils. I like tulips.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Love all of these spring blooms, they are breathtakingly beautiful and uplifting. Great lens! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Earned another *angel blessed* ... springtime sure brings the sunshine into to people's lives.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Like you, Chazz, I have become a Squidoo addict and I'm proud of it! Once again, a great lens with attention to detail and quality. Bravo!

    • MGuberti profile image

      MGuberti 5 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • RazzbarryBreeze profile image

      RazzbarryBreeze 5 years ago

      I Love your lens! The pictures are so pretty. I love daffodils and tulips ... Tulips being a favorite flower of mine.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      Lovely - love all the pics.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Lovely lens! It's still snowing here in Colorado - can't wait for the first daffodils and tulips - about 6 weeks away. Never heard of heirloom bulbs - but then I live in a modern condo. Very enjoyable read.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Thank you for this lovely preview of spring.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      I love your garden, and the idea of making an heirloom garden. Some lovely flowers here.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      "I wondered lonely as a cloud,

      That floats over vales and hills,

      When all at once I saw a crowd

      Of lovely, golden daffodils..."

      Thanks for bringing this back to my memory!

    • profile image

      gemjane 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Lovely pictures.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I didn't know daffodils are Victorian! I think I had a past life in that era.

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 5 years ago from New Market

      I can't wait for spring now! I love daffodils :)

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 6 years ago

      Beautiful! One great page after another. I'm a fan!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I want to see the roses too.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      @serenity4me lm: Definitely! Our roses got a late start this year due to the weather, but we've got a lens in progress about our heirloom roses and hope to have it ready to post soon. Thanks for asking.

    • serenity4me lm profile image

      serenity4me lm 6 years ago

      Any old time roses in that garden?

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Very beautiful. I certainly enjoyed your Victorian Garden. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Excellent photos.

    • Tyla MacAllister profile image

      Tyla MacAllister 6 years ago

      I grow lots of daffodils and the old heirloom types are my favorites. Mary Copeland will blast here and Pheasant's Eye never blooms more than once in my garden. I wish I could grow those types but I'll just have to be content with the beautiful pictures from your garden. I have found a source that sells Twin Sisters so I will add that one this year. Great lens from a fellow daffodil lover.

    • Krafick profile image

      Krafick 6 years ago

      Very beautiful.

    • profile image

      Alohagems 6 years ago

      wow! i love freshly picked flowers. I love flowers. Thanks for sharing