If you want an authentically wild' look, but also a spectacular display, this is the one. The Poet's Daffodils are among the oldest members of the flower kingdom, a true heirloom species, very close to the true wild form. (Most true species daffodils, the real 'wildflowers' that have been hybridized for years, are very small plants, but this one is strong and tall with large flowers.) Since it is so ancient, it is one of the most perennial daffodils of them all. Once you plant them, you'll have them forever.
It's fitting that when Linnaeus, the famous early scientist who invented Latin botanical nomenclature, named this flower, he christened it Narcissus poeticus recurvus. He simply decided that this is the one that best represents the early poet's story of Narcissus, the famous handsome youth from Greek mythology. Remember Narcissus? He was the young man who was so handsome he fell in love with himself while gazing into a reflecting pool. Today we know that the whole family of daffodils ended up being called 'narcissus', but the 'poeticus' in the name of this one is the direct connection to the early myths, and an official historic tribute to the incredible beauty of this particular flower. Of course, the myth of Narcissus gives us modern psychology's 'Narcissus complex', and men who are very vain are still called 'narcissistic.'
In botanical history, however, a great story and a great name don't necessarily point to a great plant for today. But in this case, they certainly do, especially for gardeners who love really beautiful flowers that take absolutely no care.
There are only a handful of choices among 'Poet's Daffodils'; they are so unique they create their own category among Dutch daffodil types. One is called 'Old Pheasant's Eye' for obvious reasons. But we chose 'Actaea' since we think it's a bit more beautiful. Both have the stunningly-colored short center cup in brilliant contrast colors against the flat background of pure white petals. You'll love this daffodil.
View the Poet's Daffodil in the Wild Click on the following link, and you'll be transported to the Ukraine, and 'The Valley of the Narcissi', the ancestral home of this incredible wildflower. Over 600 acres have been protected, and they are a sea of Poet's Daffodils in spring. What a treat!
Click here to visit the Valley of the Narcissi now.
Naturalizing Daffodils: Probably nothing in the gardening world is more foolproof and more rewarding than 'naturalizing' daffodils. Because unlike most other garden flowers, these fantastic plants are super-easy to plant in fall, they don't care about soil, as long as it's well-drained, and they'll bloom beautifully for you with absolutely no work every spring after you plant them. Best of all, daffodils increase over the years, each bulb developing into a blooming clump. All you have to do is pick the spots. The one thing to remember is that you won't be able to mow that area until the tops die down. Everything else takes care of itself. In a new or established wildflower meadow, the wildflower plants grow up around the daffodils hiding the fading foliage, so there's no work to do. And if you're planting wildflower seed, what could be easier that to pop in the bulbs when you have the ground already turned?
About the Wild Daffodils. Like wild tulips which are more the size of crocus, most of the wild daffodils are tiny too. They're generally small wildflowers that have been hybridized by the Dutch into the big tall beauties we know today.
Unlike tulips which are native to Central Asia, daffodils are European wildflowers, native to areas of France, Spain and Portugal.
Holland is not the ancestral home of any bulb flowers. But it's the home of almost all the hybrids, since the Dutch hybridizers have not only created thousands of new flowers gardeners love, they've developed a huge national industry that supplies bulbs to gardeners worldwide.
To a wildgardener, of course, the original un-hybridized species (and their close hybrids) are all interesting, and even better, they're all dependably perennial. Plant them once, and they're there forever. Unlike the hybrids which develop bigger and bigger clumps each year, and have to be divided every few seasons for good bloom, the wild species simply spread, like they do in the wild. So there is absolutely no maintenance for the wild bulbs, once you get them established.
Here are the major wild species:
Narcissus poeticus recurvus