Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gardening with books

An image posted on the Pacific Bulb Society wiki recently released a flood of memories for me.

Plants are important to me, of course; but so, too, are books. A gardening life led without books is not for me. I enjoy my plants through my books, and books as much as anything help to keep it all together. The image posted shows the daffodil ‘Snipe’, one I’ve known about for nearly fifty years. It was illustrated on plate XVIII of Patrick Synge’s Collins Guide to Bulbs, published in 1961. Back in those days, I never saw it on the daffodil lists from which I bought, although the similar-in-name and somewhat similar-in-appearance ‘Jack Snipe’ eventually became widely available. Both are cyclamineus hybrids and they have a similar color pattern, but the similarity ends there. ‘Snipe’ began to appear on the list of one of the big suppliers recently; maybe this year it will finally find its way into this garden.

On that same plate XVIII is shown Narcissus cantabricus var petunioides. A plant answering to that description is about to flower in one of the cold frames now. My gosh, it’s taken nearly fifty years for this to happen.

I mentioned all of this on the PBS forum today, and also mentioned the daffodil 'Cantatrice' (also illustrated in the Synge work) for which I would like to find a source. I grew 'Cantatrice' long ago, but it disappeared as the garden grew. Within a few minutes someone replied with a lead.

I’m very happy now, happy as only someone who has known such long denial can understand. Never doubt the important role of patience in gardening.

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