Daffodil: The remarkable story of the world’s most popular spring flower
Author: Noel Kingsbury
Photographer: Jo Whitworth
Publisher: Timber Press
Daffodils are one of the most recognisable, most popular, and most widely revered flowers. If you love daffodils and want to hear their story, then may I suggest a lovely book, Daffodil, which was written by Noel Kingsbury, and is illustrated with beautiful pictures taken by photographer, Jo Whitworth.
Daffodil is a soothing and revitalising book to read. I felt quite restored after taking time out to read Daffodil, I enjoyed learning more about daffodil breeders and specialists, while discovering more about the life story of this lovely flower, which so many of us hold in such high regard.
In Daffodil, the author, Noel Kingsbury, writes gently, without any daunting or off putting language, there are no unnecessary complications, no fussy embellishments or technical terms to dilute or confuse Noel’s words. This is an easy to read book, which would be suited to readers of every degree of acquaintance with daffodils: from experts and novices, to those who are discovering daffodils for the first time. I am sure that every reader would enjoy this book!
Daffodil tells the story of the daffodil, from this charming flower’s origins, its symbolism, and the myths and legends that are associated with daffodils, to a guide to the Daffodil Classification System and an introduction to the daffodil breeders of both modern and historic times. Noel Kingsbury provides an insight into which daffodil breeders have created the particular forms and colours of daffodils that each of us know and love. Like everything in this book, the Daffodil Classification System is clearly and simply explained. The typical characteristics and origins of the daffodils from each division are relayed, which are illustrated with a photograph of a poster daffodil (a daffodil that most typifies each class) for each division. There are certainly enough details provided to give the amateur daffodil grower reading this book sufficient information to hazard an educated guess as to which of their daffodils fall into which division.
This is a revitalising book to read, it’s not just the writing that is restorative, Jo Whitworth’s photography is tremendous! It’s wonderful to see Jo’s beautiful photographs of so many of the different daffodil cultivars that feature in this book.
In his book Daffodil, author Noel Kingsbury, writes that he has not found daffodil viruses to be a problem for gardeners. Sadly, my experience is different from Noel’s: I have myself unwittingly purchased daffodil bulbs that were suffering from a daffodil virus on many occasions, naturally I destroyed these bulbs as soon as I realised that they were infected. Over the past ten years, I have encountered an increasing number of daffodil blooms, which were produced by plants that were infected with a virus at horticultural shows.
I had just one small quibble with regard to this genuinely lovely book – near the back of the book there’s a small reference section – just a few pages – which are designed to be helpful to gardeners, this section gives a number of examples of particular daffodil cultivars that are ideally suited to a number of different growing conditions and environments, or are from a particular division or colourway. This section could have been greatly improved by the inclusion of even a small number of Jo Whitworth’s delightful photographs. Sadly, as it was, these pages feature text only, which although still helpful, could have been made all the more inspiring with the inclusion of a few additional images. These photographs would have offered great benefit to the novice gardener, but they would have been pleasing for every reader I am sure.
As I say, this is just a few pages, it’s a tiny, almost insignificant section of this book, there are a large number of Jo Whitworth’s photographs inside this book, they all enhance the book and bring Noel’s words to life.
I am certain that Daffodil will appeal to daffodil enthusiasts of every level of experience, knowledge, and expertise. As well as gardeners, flower arrangers, and nature lovers, Daffodil is likely to appeal to those interested in history or in farming. Daffodil is a lovely book!
You can read more about Daffodil by Noel Kingsbury and Jo Whitworth on Timber Press the book’s publisher’s website here.
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