I love daffodils. And I keep planting them. Every spring I think I have enough and by fall, I have more bulbs. I am not an expert or a true daffodil connoisseur, but oh my how I love them! I have a lot of the old school favorites like King Alfred and my late father’s favorite, Mount Hood, but over the past couple of years I have delved like Alice down the proverbial rabbit hole into the world of old bulbs. Yes, historic, heirloom, vintage, antique as in someone planted it in their gardens in the 18th century bulbs thru to the early 20th century.
People are very serious about their historic, species, and generally speaking… old bulbs. I will freely admit, I don’t know enough and I merely buy what I like for my zone.
My first old bulb source is Old House Gardens. They have an amazing selection of not only old and hard to find daffodils, but so many other bulbs as well. These bulbs have quirky names at times like the 18th century Butter and Eggs which I have planted and you can find it at Mount Vernon! I discovered Old House Gardens when I was looking for a very old daffodil called Sulphur Phoenix, which I still cannot find in the US! Sulphur Phoenix actually inspired me to join the American Daffodil Society.
Another source for old bulb, antique bulbs is a newer company called QDaffs USA out of Connecticut. Q Daffs has an astoundingly interesting inventory. Now you have to be an intrepid bulb hunter and do your research, but oh how fun to go through their inventory just like Old House Gardens. Their bulbs arrived today and I can’t wait to plant them!
My other two sources for daffodils and spring bulbs is Brent and Becky’s in Virginia and they are still accepting fall orders, and Colorblends which is another Connecticut bulb dealer. Other people have those whom they prefer, but these are my sources.
Now back to the American Daffodil Society for a moment. They quite honestly have to be the nicest plant society to deal with next to the American Rose Society. The people from the American Daffodil Society (“ADS”) are so generous with their time an knowledge. As a newbie to the big, no huge world of daffodil bulbs, they have been ever so nice. Take today for example, when I received an e-mail which said:
Dear New Members of ADS,
On Saturday I mailed your bulbs to you because you joined ADS within the last year. Included was a cheat sheet that my Indiana group uses when we sell bulbs to the public. It is short and sweet and in no way meant to supersede the information you have in your Daffodil Primer. I included it to help you jump start and get your bulbs planted if you live in a colder USDA planting zone. Fall rooting is an important process to happen and FYI, if you are in a drought situation as we are in Indiana, dampness under the bulb is necessary to help the rooting process. I hope these bulbs give you years of enjoyment. It is normal to see fewer flowers the first year, so you will have increased bloom production in 2022. I have a tendency to leave my bulbs in the ground for longer periods of time and don’t dig and divide until I see diminished bloom production from a clump. In other words, I grow too many cultivars to tend!
We are pleased to have you as a member of ADS and I hope you stay in touch.
My ADS bulbs arrived today. That is them in the photo above. How awesome is that? A garden gift is one of the best gifts you can receive. And the ADS also has a marvelous publication called The Daffodil Journal which you get with your membership. It’s only $35 a year to join. Well worth it and such nice, nice people.
Well my knees and back are already groaning at what will need to be planted. But the bulbs come springtime are so worth it and such a delight as they open. And daffodils are not munched by deer or most critters. And if you buy daffodils for naturalizing and fill in with heirloom and antique bulbs you will create quite a show.
So as we all get into fall clean-up, we are also looking forward to spring again in our gardens.