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Arthur Martin Kirby.

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LIBRARY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.



Class



DAFFODILS

NARCISSUS

AND HOW TO GROW THEM



The Garden Library



Roses and How to Grow Them

By Many Experts
Ferns and How to Grow Them

B]> Q. Jl. Woolson
Lawns and How to Make Them

By Leonard Barren
Daffodils, Narcissus and How to Grow Them

Bu A. M. Kirbu



PLATE I




A CENTURY-OLD FIELD OF DAFFODILS

On the old Lalor homestead near Trenton, N. J., the old English trumpet daffodil
(N. Pseudo-Narcissus) has been growing wild for a hundred years. When com-
fortably naturalised, the season of flowering is somewhat earlier than in ordinary
garden cultivation and there is always bloom in this field by the 25th of March



DAFFODILS
NARCISSUS

AND HOW TO GROW THEM



As Hardy Plants and for Cut Flowers

With a Guide to the Best

Varieties

By

A. M. KIRBY



ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK

Doubleday, Page & Company
1907



COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY DOUBLED AY, PAGE & COMPANY
PUBLISHED, AUGUST, 1907



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES
INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. Old-time and Modern Daffodils and

Narcissus. 3

II. Daffodils in the Garden Border. . 17

III. Flowering Daffodils in Winter. . 47

IV. Water Culture in the House. . 63
V. The Commercial Production of Cut

Flowers. . . . . 70

VI. Naturalising in the Grass. . .81

VII. Miniature Daffodils for the Rock

Garden. . . . .90

VIII. The One Insect and One Disease. 93
IX. Straightening Daffodil Nomenclature

and Classification. . . 98

X. The Large Trumpet Daffodils. . in
XL The Lesser Trumpet, Hoop-Petti-
coat and Cyclamen-flowered
Daffodils. . . . .141

XII. The Medium-crown Hybrids. . 148

XIII. The Pheasant's Eye and Poet's

Hybrid Narcissus. . .170

XIV. The Sweet-scented Jonquils and

Campernelles. . . .180

XV. The Tender Cluster-flowered Nar-
cissus. ..... 183

XVI. The Hardy Cluster-flowered Nar-
cissus. . . . .192



212454



DAFFODILS NARCISSUS
CHAPTER PAGE

XVII. Double Daffodils and Narcissus of

all Groups 196

XVIII. Some Autumn Flowering Species. 206

XIX. Hybridising and Raising from Seed. 208

Appendix. A Key to the Daffodils. ., . * .215

Index. . . * ' "*. '' *. 227



ILLUSTRATIONS

PLATE

I. A Century-old Field of Daffodils

(C. M. Whitney). Frontispiece.

FACING PAGE

II. An Ideal Planting (/. H. Me-

Farland). . .. . . IO

III. The Importance of Massing

(H. G. Taylor). . . .11

IV. Types of Flowers (A. M. Kirby). 14
V. Planting in the Herbaceous Border

(Henry Troth). . . . 28
VI. The Poet's Narcissus Naturalised

(N. R. Graves). ... 29
VII. A Few Good Bulbs (A. M. Kirby). 44
VIII. Daffodils for the Window Garden

(A. M. Kirby). . 45

IX. Paper-white Narcissus as a Parlour

Plant (Van Wagner). . . 76
X. Commercial Cultivation in Flats

(H. E. Angell). ... 77
XL Commercial Production of Cut

Flowers (H. E. Angell). . 92

XII. A Flat of Flowers Ready for Cut-
ting (H. E. Angell). . . 93

XIII. The Poet's Narcissus in Landscape

Effect (J. H. McFarland). . 108

XIV. Poet's Narcissus Naturalised in a

Lawn (A. R. Dugmore). . 109

XV. Trumpet Daffodils Naturalised

(Henry Troth). . . .124
XVI. All -yellow Trumpet Daffodil

(A.M. Kirby). . . .125
XVII. All - white Trumpet Daffodil

(A. M. Kirby). . . .156



DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

XVIII. Medium crown, or Cup Daffodil
(N. incomparabilis) (N. R.
Graves). . . . .157

XIX. Narcissus Barii conspicuus (N. R.

Graves). .... 160

XX. The Hoop-petticoat Daffodils. . 161
XXI. Narcissus Leedsii varieties (N. R.

Graves) 168

XXII. Narcissus Nelsoni and N. Back-
house! (H. E. Angell). . . 169

XXIII. Narcissus Leedsii and N. Burbidgei

(H. E. Angell). . . .172

XXIV. Single and Double Narcissus incom-

parabilis (H. E. Angell and /.
H. McFarland). , . .173
XXV. Big and Little Daffodils (Henry

Troth) >* ( . a J .178

XXVI. Narcissus poeticus and the new
hardy, cluster-flowered N. poetaz
(H. E. Angell). WJ W . . 179
XXVII. Narcissus tridimus, var. Cloth of

Gold (H. E. Angell). . . 182
XXVIII. Campernelle or Jonquil (N. R.

Graves). . . . .183

XXIX. A Polyanthus Narcissus, N. Tazet-

ta (N. R. Graves). . .188

XXX. Two Dainty Flowers (H. E.

Angell). . . . .189

XXXI. Types of Double Van Sion Daffo-
dils (H. E. Angell). . . 204
XXXII. Wild Narcissus in Bermuda

(A. M. Kirby). . , : . 205



DAFFODILS

NARCISSUS

AND HOW TO GROW THEM



CHAPTER I

OLD-TIME AND MODERN DAFFODILS AND

NARCISSUS

The largest flowers of early spring Universal adaptation
The homes of the wild species Some early history A
word as to prices The daffodil in legend and verse
What is a daffodil or a narcissus?

THE narcissus and daffodil have long been
the most world-widely popular of all spring
flowering bulbous plants. It is not alone the
individual and collective beauty of their flow-
ers that endears them to our hearts but the
bravery of their advent, for "the time of the
daffodil closes the gates on bleak winter and
ushers in, with trumpets of gold, longed-for
spring.

It is true that these flowers may have been
preceded by those of snowdrops, scillas, cro-
cus, etc., with their boisterous weather accom-
paniments, but the awakening of the daffodils
among the earliest of the important flowers
of a new season means the advent of mild
and genuine spring.

3



4 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

What pleasurable associations the very
mention of their names uncurtains among
those of us who have been fortunate enough
to be brought up in "old-fashioned garden 1 *
environment. We recall our annual spring de-
light in watching the sturdy development
from mother earth almost before winter's
snow had melted of groups of spear-like
leaves, followed by big, fat buds that soon
unsheathed their blossoms of silver and gold.

WHERE TO GROW THEM

The narcissus and daffodils may be success-
fully grown in so many locations, and under
so many different conditions of soil, and cli-
mate, that we need scarcely ask "where may
they be grown ?" Their freedom from cul-
tural complications is, indeed, one of their
chief merits. With the exception of a few of
the Mediterranean and Oriental types that
love warm, dry hillsides or well-drained
rockeries, the great majority of varieties is
nearly as hardy as rocks, and will grow, thrive
and flower almost anywhere in garden beds,
in herbaceous borders and shrubberies, in
grassy turf of lawn, meadow or woodland,



OLD-TIME AND MODERN 5

year after year, without any special care.
Of course congenial soil, location and culture
will produce better results than conditions
less congenial; deep, cool, well-drained,
sandy loam, in a semi-shaded situation, being
the desideratum, but, like grass, they will ex-
ist almost anywhere, flourishing most luxuri-
antly when especially well placed. Correct
garden culture produces the finest individual
flowers, though the collective wealth of
beauty of a colony naturalised on a grassy
slope or stream-side bank is a feast for the eye.
But it is not exclusively in the open ground
that narcissus and daffodils may be grown,
flowered and enjoyed. Most of them (the
very latest flowering sorts only excluded) are
amenable to artificial cultural conditions ; that
is, they may be flowered during the winter in
conservatory, greenhouse or window, in pots,
pans or flats of soil, and some of them even
in nothing more than a bowl of moss or
gravel and water.

NARCISSUS AND DAFFODILS IN THE WILD

Many wild forms of narcissus and daffo-
dil, with their crosses, are still to be found



6 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

in their original locations. The typical nar-
cissus, or small-cupped poeticus and Tazetta
types, are indigenous to regions bordering the
Mediterranean, their centre being in Greece
and Italy; some of the cluster-flowered Ta-
zettas (better known as polyanthus narcis-
sus) are wild in the Orient as far as Asia; the
trumpet narcissus or true daffodils are mostly
found wild in Great Britain and Western
Europe.

These three important species, with a few
sub-species of lesser importance, slowly
spreading inch by inch, annually, by offshoot
or seed, over mountain and through valley
wherever conditions invited often met; and
as all wild, single-flowering narcissus produce
seed, the different types sometimes crossing
when in proximity and in flower at the same
time, they have thus blended and given rise
to mixed descendants natural hybrids, some
of which resemble one parent, some the other.
Occasionally the offspring or hybrid would be
so different from either parent that a new
wild type was produced.

In addition to the above causes of variety
in wild narcissus and daffodils, other natural



OLD-TIME AND MODERN 7

influences have assisted in typifying several
forms. Particularly responsible for this are
local conditions of soil, climate, altitude and
season for environment moulds character
and fixes types through the survival of the
fittest. All of these wild types, by the way,
are favourites for naturalising, as they show
no deterioration under such conditions, as do
the larger flowering modern garden hybrids
when grown wild.

The first gardens that people had were
composed of medicinal herbs, then were
added a few things good to eat, and after-
wards pretty plants to embellish. Among the
first chosen flowering plants for gardens were
narcissus and daffodils. In some gardens, a
number of collected kinds were grown, which
sometimes resulted in "garden crosses*' and
the production of new forms and varieties.
Occasionally, new kinds of marked beauty or
distinctiveness would be raised. These pleas-
ing surprises, added to the intrinsic value of
the narcissus as garden flowers, fanned the
interest of cultivators into such a glow that
some cultivators eventually learned to arti-
ficially cross different types and even become



8 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

expert in producing definite results. But it
was not until the last century that any great
strides were thus made. In the year 1548
Turner is supposed to have described all then
known sorts numbering twenty-four in "A
Few Narcissus of Dieverse Sortes" A hun-
dred years later species, sub-species and their
varieties had apparently increased to ninety-
four, according to John Parkinson in his
"Paradisus Terrestris"

Between 1840 and 1860, two English ama-
teurs, William Backhouse, banker of Darling-
ton, and Edward Leeds, stockbroker of Man-
chester, did some remarkably good work in
hybridising narcissus and daffodils. The col-
lections of seedlings of these two gentlemen
have been largely responsible for increasing
popular interest in the cultivation and cross-
ing of narcissus and daffodils during recent
years. Among other devotees who have also
done good work are Messrs. Barr, Burbidge,
Engleheart, Hume and Nelson, all of whom
have been honoured by having groups, or type
sections, named after them.

Daffodils had become so popular tHat in
1884 tKe Royal Horticultural Society of Eng-



OLD-TIME AND MODERN 9

land organised a great conference in London,
and a permanent committee was appointed to
take cognisance of new varieties of daffodils
and make suitable awards to the more merit-
orious. The daffodil craze was now on in
earnest, and its impetus has increased con-
tinuously ever since. Scores of rival enthusi-
asts in Europe and Great Britain grow and
cross daffodils and exhibit their flowers
every year. Very high prices are paid for
bulbs of particularly choice varieties, many
of which cannot be purchased for less than
ten dollars to twenty-five dollars per bulb,
and a few of the very rare are worth as much
as fifty dollars, and even one hundred dollars,
per bulb.

More than that, there are some daffodils
that may never be seen by the outside world,
for a coterie of six wealthy daffodil lovers in
England buys up the bulbs of any new varie-
ty of exceptional beauty and merit if none
have escaped into commerce paying extra-
vagant prices for the sole ownership of the
coveted beauties, from $500 to $2,000
sometimes being expended by these enthusiasts
for five or six bulbs. One of the compacts of



10 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

this close club is that at the demise of any
member, his or her bulbs are to be distributed
among the remaining members of the monop-
olistic band.

In practical America, the daffodil fever
has not, as yet, reached so acute a stage. Old,
standard varieties, costing from a dollar and
fifty cents to ten dollars per hundred bulbs,
generally satisfy the aesthetic tastes of our
flower lovers. It is noticed, however, that
some of the more progressive bulb importers
are cataloguing a few of the newer and bet-
ter kinds, and their answers to our inquiries
indicate that there is a growing demand for
choicer varieties, costing from fifty cents to
one dollar per bulb.

At such prices, and even for much less,
hundreds of beautiful varieties, creditable rep-
resentatives from all type sections, are pro-
curable, so that worthy collections may eco-
nomically be made. Indeed, it is advisable to
begin with moderate-priced varieties, for the
higher points of the improved and more ex-
pensive sorts may not be fully appreciated at
first by the uninitiated. But in a year or
two tKe beginner is educated to note the



PLATE II




AN IDEAL PLANTING

Daffodils are most happily placed when grouped in clumps in the foreground of a
mixed shrubbery border. Most varieties of the medium-crown type give satisfaction
in all sort of conditions. (Narcissus Barrii, var. conspicuus)




ORNl*



OLD-TIME AND MODERN II

points of superiority in the higher grades, and
is led on to other indulgences.

THE NARCISSUS OF OLDEN TIMES

That narcissus, the ancient, small cupped
and cluster-flowered sorts, were prized be-
fore history was recorded, is evidenced by
wreaths of their flowers being unearthed from
tombs made hundreds of years before the
Christian era. That the popularity of nar-
cissus increased with civilisation is indicated
by old Greek and Roman writings. It is
nearly 2000 years since Virgil's "Empurpled
Narcissus" was penned, and about 1,500 years
ago that Mohammed said "He that hath two
cakes of bread, let him sell one of them, for
bread is only food for the body, but narcis-
sus is food for the Soul." Ovid, about the
year I, poetically crystalizes an ancient legend
of the birth of Narcissus, the substance of
which is as follows: Narcissus, a beautiful
youth, was so impervious to the loving ad-
vances of Echo and other suitors that Nemesis
answering their prayers for vengeance, caused
Narcissus to pine away in silent admiration of



12 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

his own image reflected from a mountain
brook

"And looking for his corse we only found
A rising stalk with blossoms crowned."

MODERN DAFFODILS THREE HUNDRED
YEARS OLD

The praises of daffodils the trumpets
have been voiced only during the past three
centuries by Spenser, Shakespeare, Tenny-
son, Wordsworth, Keats, and other poets. A
good-sized volume might be filled with rhap-
sodical allusions and poetic descriptions from
the various writers about daffodils, all indica-
tive of the continued popularity of branches
of the narcissus family, throughout centuries
of time. Space, however, forbids our quo-
ting more than the following classic lines:

" Daffodils that come before the swallow dares
And take the winds of March with beauty."

Shakespeare in "Winter's Tale".
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

and such are daffodils."

Keats.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever
"I wander'd lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,



OLD-TIME AND MODERN 13

"Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of the bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

"The waves beside them danced: but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:

I gazed and gazed but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

William Wordsworth.

THE TYPICAL DAFFODIL AND NARCISSUS

Though "Narcissus" is the botanical title
of the whole family, the more showy large
trumpet forms have so dominated that their
popular name of "daffodil" has come to sig-
nify all the members of the family included
in the large crown and medium crown sec-
tions, embracing the intermediate hybrid
groups. The name "narcissus" is still re-
tained popularly for the small-cupped species,



14 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

Narcissus popticus, N. Tazetta and N. Jon'
quilla.

The relationship of the flowers can be best
realized by looking at the diagrams in Plate
IV. It will be seen that there is a con-
siderable difference between the exterior
form of the flowers as well as in their in-
terior structure. From stem to mouth the
flowers are practically of the same length,
but the whorl of so-called petals* perianth
segments is placed near the mouth in typi-
cal "narcissus" flowers so that there is only
a shallow cup in front of it. In typical
"daffodils" the whorl is placed near the base,
allowing a longer portion called the "trum-
pet" in front.

There are also differences of interior struc-
ture. In the narcissus proper the stamens are
in two series of three each, one set being con-
nected to the tube near the top, the other
lower down; in daffodils proper the stamens
are in one series of six all connected with
the tube at one point nearly at its base. Prac-



*The term petals is used throughout this book to sig-
nify the perianth segments; it is more convenient and is
easily understood.



PLATK IV




TYPES OF FLOWER

The perianth segments (A) form a collar, as it were, that may be pushed away
from or closer to the ovary (F) so that there is a definite ratio between the length
of the tube (B) and the depth of the crown (C)

The sections: ( i) N. Tazetta, polyanthus; ( 2) .ZV. poeticus, common narcissus;
(3) N. Pseudo-Narcissus, trumpet daffodil. The stamens (C) are inserted in
one series in ( 3), but in two series in ( i ) and (2). The pistil is indicated at (D)
Fig. 2 typifies the short crowned or saucer section
Fig. 3 is the typical long-crowned flower or trumpet daffodil
Fig. 4 is N f . Sprengeri, a hybrid from N. Pseudo-Narcissus (2) and N. Tazelta ( i )
Fig. 5 typifies the medium-crowned or cup daffodils, N. incomparabilis, pro-
duced by crossing N. poeticus ( 2) and a trumpet daffodil (3)



1 6 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

tically all narcissus of intermediate form be-
tween these two extremes are hybrids either
natural or artificial between the two classes.
For instance, N. Tazetta ( Fig. i ) crossed
with N. Pseudo-Narcissus (Fig. 3) has pro-
duced N. Sprengeri (Fig. 4). Again, N.
poeticus (Fig. 2) crossed with N. Pseudo-
Narcissus (Fig. 3) has produced N. incom-
parabilis (Fig. 5). As will be seen by a ref-
erence to the plate the hybrid in each case
combines some characters from each of the
parents.



CHAPTER II

DAFFODILS IN THE GARDEN BORDER

How a bulb grows Soils and varieties Planting depths
and distances Early planting Lifting and dividing
Winter protection The ideal mulch Sunshine and
shade Blooms for three months Cutting flowers
How to select bulbs.

ALL narcissus and daffodils are bulbous
plants, and an understanding of the phases
of a bulb's life will help materially in arriving
at an intelligent system of cultivation. The
bulb, the plant's thickened, underground
storehouse from which the roots descend and
the stems, leaves and flowers ascend, is fully
formed by the growing plant after the flower-
ing period and before growth for the season
is suspended, and it contains within itself next
year's flowers and foliage in embryo. In the
thick, fleshy scales of the bulb is stored up a
supply of food to support the new growth in
early spring; these scales also serve as shields
to protect the leaves and flower from injury,
from cold or other external conditions,
"7



1 8 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

The dormant period for these bulbs ranges
from July to November, during which they
may be dug from the ground, stored, and
shipped around the world if desired. When
replanted where soil and climatic conditions
are congenial, the bulb develops leaves and
flowers with as much luxuriance as if it had
remained undisturbed in its original environ-
ment.

The bulbs of narcissus and daffodils vary
greatly in size, according to age and kind.
The Tazettas, or polyanthus narcissus, make
the biggest bulbs, averaging from six to nine
inches in circumference. Some groups, as
triandrus, cyclamineus, Bulbocodium, etc.,
make full-grown bulbs not much larger than
peas; while the great majority of our com-
monly grown narcissus and daffodils make
bulbs of four to six inches maximum circum-
ference.

SOIL PREFERENCES

8 es snn:

With very few exceptions, the hardy nar-
cissus and daffodils revel in coolness and a
deep moisture-holding, air-penetrable soil,



IN THE GARDEN BORDER 19

overlying a pervious subsoil, and in partial
shade. Though they will grow and flower,
most accommodatingly in any garden soil of
average quality, yet they will do far better
under more congenial soil conditions. Cir-
cumstances do not always permit us to pro-
vide these perfect conditions and we have to
plan accordingly.

If there be a choice of several sites, it will
be well to plant the different groups sepa-
rately; the single yellow and bicolor trumpets
in moderately moist but well underdrained
loam; the poeticus types in heavier, damper,
lower ground (particularly the double gar-
denia flowered form, alba plena, which will
flower only when grown in heavy damp soil) ,

In warm climates the popular old "Double
Daffodil" or Double Van Sion (N. telamo*
nlus, var. plenus) also requires a damp moist
soil to retain its rich yellow colouring as on a
dry light soil in a hot situation it is apt to
produce greenish-yellow flowers, and in some
cases, even, all-green flowers.

The drier soils or high ground will answer
for the white trumpet daffodils; and the dry,
sunny, well-drained hillside or rockery, with



20 DAFFODILS NARCISSUS

warm exposure, should receive the Bulboco-
dium, cyclamineus and triandrus sections.

Although most of the important type
groups of the narcissus family like cool, moist
soil, yet it is essential that the moisture be not
stagnant; that is, water must not remain con-
tinuously about the bulbs nor roots, but be
drained away from below. u Wet feet" pre-
vents maximum root development, and is apt,
sooner or later, to cause u basal-rot" in the
bulbs. Maintained moisture with abundant
soil aeration is the ideal while the bulbs are
in growth and flower.

The old idea that there is as much of the
tree below ground as there is above is also ap-
proximately true of the narcissus and if the
plant grows 18 inches high the roots pene-
trate the earth to approximately the same
depth. It may be more practical to reverse
this order of reasoning and say that if the
roots can only forage six inches below the sur-
face the growth of the plant and flowers
above will be correspondingly small and stun-
ted. The whole secret of success in pro-
ducing the best, the largest, the most perfect
and the richest coloured flowers and foliage is



IN THE GARDEN BORDER 21

maximum root development and root devel-
opment is entirely dependent upon congenial
soil conditions. Your neighbour may buy and
merely plant in his garden a few Glory of
Leiden daffodils and get flowers three inches
across, very handsome and thoroughly pleas-
ing to him. You, knowing a little more of
what that variety is capable of doing, and
knowing how to prepare the bed, produce
flowers five inches across !

PREPARATION OF THE SOIL

Where nature does not supply the ideal
conditions, our aim must be to reproduce them
as nearly as possible.

Light, dry, sandy or gravelly soils must
be made heavier and more retentive of mois-
ture. This may be done by manuring and
then growing crimson clover, peas, or some
"green crop" that can be dug under to decay
and add humus, absorbent, sponge-like vege-
table matter, to the soil. While this may be
done in the spring so that the soil will be in
fairly good condition by daffodil planting
time in September, it will be far better to


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryArthur Martin KirbyDaffodils, narcissus, and how to grow them as hardy plants and for cut flowers, with a guide to the best varieties → online text (page 1 of 13)