Wednesday, September 12, 2012

continuous as the stars that shine


The first house we owned was a row house in Brooklyn. It was built in the mid-1800's and was 15 feet wide. When we bought it, our 15' x 50' back yard was what is known in Brooklyn as an Italian lawn--concrete. Eventually we had it sledge hammered away and we planted a sweet garden. Thinking about it is giving me incentive to learn to scan old photos, so I can show you. Anyway, it was then that I got my first White Flower Farm catalog, and ever since I've dreamed about The Works. Read the description--poetry, yes?


Enchanting as lichen is, and moss and ferns and seed pods, I love daffodils (and all other flowers). I'm  considering this mixture of 100 daffodils and 20 hostas. I have the perfect place for it, and autumn weekends free for planting bulbs. The thought of seeing those daffodils in the spring might sustain me through the winter when "on my couch I lie/in vacant or in pensive mood" *. If I went to the nursery and tried to choose such a large quantity I would have a nervous breakdown. What do you think?





*William Wordsworth, Daffodils

23 comments:

  1. My mom planted all those varieties in small bunches along the creek and they still come up each year, some earlier, some later. An errant few blooming in unusual places (I think they have come up by seed) My favorite is the pheasant eye jonquil in the upper left of your photo - they have such a lovely scent. You will be so pleased you planted them - it will be just like that scene from Dr. Zhivago.

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    1. Daffodils along the creek sounds lovely--I can picture the yellow popping up among the greens and browns alongside the water. As for Dr. Zhivago, why I don't remember daffodils--only endless snow and ice.

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  2. Will you plant bulbs of daffodils, Jen? That's wonderful! You'll see the flowers with sweet smell next early spring and will remember the remarkable poem.

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    1. Yes, I have the perfect spot for it in the back of my yard in Massachusetts--there are very tall deciduous trees--so tall I only see the trunks (and squirrels running up and down). They provide wonderful shade in summer, but the ground below them is bare.

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  3. Hello Jen:
    We can, of course, imagine you lying on your 'couch' but never, we think, in 'vacant' mood. Your mind is always far too alert to all that is going on around.

    We love the idea of the daffodils mixed with hostas, but we should advise avoiding the large flowered, gaudy hybrids and going for something like Narcissus bulbocodium, N. cyclamineus, or N. pseudonarcissus 'Lobularis'. They are all equally lovely and look so much more natural.

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    1. Thank you for the specific suggestions, Jane and Lance. I do really just want a few old fashioned types. Though the idea of ordering "the works" is appealing, what I really see in my mind is a drift of daffodils. I was going to plant hostas in the spot last year, but was overwhelmed by the choices. Maybe three types of those too?

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  4. I've never had a garden. it must be fantastic to see it grow. and change. and evolve. one day....

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    1. Hard for a nomad such as yourself to grow a garden! You take such marvelous pictures of flowers (and everything else) in your travels--I love to see them (and you don't have to get grubby in the process).

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  5. Hello Gen, When walking in the woods in the spring, I love coming across old stands of daffodils that show where a garden existed in earlier times, even when no house still exists.

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  6. Mass plantings of anything is so charming!! My favorite 'daffodil' is Poet. Ever read Lady Chatterley's Lover? There's a really lovely passage describing daffs in the woods in early Spring. In spite of his 'interesting' treatment of his female characters, he wrote beautifullly about nature.
    Looking forward to your Spring photos!

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    1. I think I missed that part...I didn't love the book, but I'll go back and take a look, because I do love beautiful descriptions of nature.

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  7. Very nice! I love mixed plantings of narcissi - although tulips are nicer in groups of one or two colours, I think - and the more the merrier too. Keep us posted. Had to laugh at the Italian lawn expression.....

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    1. My problem with planting tulips is they don't do well after a year or two--at least mine don't...

      Our concrete lawn was grey--but some of them were painted green. Seriously. They were low maintenance--and the Italian ladies would be out there with their brooms every morning, attacking stray leaves.

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  8. Wanted to leave a comment because I might forget to come back. I'm fascinated by all the variety of daffs and narcissus and I might just have to get a few.

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  9. Love the narcissus 'sailboat'and muscari mix.

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    1. I am eyeing the muscari mix 'singing the blues' and 'wanderlust', a muscari/narcissus mix.

      You should order the catalog! I started getting it in the pre-internet days of course, but still love it.

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  10. Sounds perfect! We're big fans of hostas, and daffodils are just..happy. I say, go for it!

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    1. I think it's a great combination too!

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  11. What an excellent idea. I have a B'day coming up that, that might be a nice present to myself.

    xo jane

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    1. Something about the abundance of it is so wonderful...and celebratory. At least until you start digging.

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  12. They look gorgeous Jen!
    I think it's lovely idea and I think I'll actually do the same, together with some tulips : )

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  13. Thinking of such beautiful flowers would help me make it through the winter too. What a wonderful idea!

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