Daffodils, as author and designer Noel Kingsbury reports, are "great survivors." Unlike the tulip, once daffodils are planted, they reappear year after year without any human intervention. In his new book, The Daffodil: Discover the Remarkable Story of the World's Most Popular Spring Flower (Timber Press, 2013), Kingsbury notes that the daffodil is "a metaphor for our relationship with nature; ... a cultural icon," appearing in poetry and paintings; and it's also an emblem of spring and of nature itself.
Kingsbury takes the reader through the long history of the flower, found in the tombs of ancient Egypt, mentioned in classical texts, and known to have been grown by Byzantines in the period after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
He explains the difference between the various divisions of daffodils, profiles early daffodil pioneers and today's top breeders. I can attest myself to the expertise of Brent and Becky Heath of Glouster, VA, from whom I have ordered innumerable bulbs, and all of them catch my breath every spring as soon as they magically appear.
A delightful book for almost any gardener, and a wonderful resource for designers who are looking for something different. Photos in the book by Jo Whitworth obviously don't cover all of the 27 thousand or so unique daffodil cultivars, but they'll inspire you to find a good daffodil grower and experiment with many of the unusual new varieties.