Since their earliest identification in the mid-1500s, more than twenty-eight thousand hybrid daffodils have been named and registered with the Royal Horticulture Society of England. Daffodils began as wildflowers in the Mediterranean basin, then spread and flourished in Europe's alpine and coastal environments. Sara L. Van Beck, an attentive historian and skilled horticulturist, traces the history of the garden daffodil including its early days in Europe, especially the Netherlands; the importation of flowering bulbs to colonial America; and plant breeding and the dissemination of plants throughout the United States until World War II.
Illustrated with nearly two hundred color and black-and-white images, Daffodils in American Gardens examines gardening by era--European beginnings, colonial, federal, antebellum, and Victorian periods, and World War II. Van Beck combines the disparate disciplines of archaeology and plant science to discover and re-create important gardens in the United States. Combining primary research from a variety of rare publications, especially nursery catalogs and seed lists, she integrates old and new scientific botany by correlating older, uncertain scientific terms, common names for the daffodil, and modern taxonomies. Historic and modern botanical illustrations embellish the volume and complement Van Beck's narrative.
This multifaceted history, examining high style, vernacular, and commercial landscape architecture, is geared toward general gardeners interested in heirloom plants and historic gardens. Moreover, extensive endnotes and a comprehensive bibliography document extensive references for professionals working in historic landscapes preservation and garden restoration.