• Ice Wings

    by  • October 13, 2010 • Fall, Plant Profiles

    Each with their secret and each with their song
    Narcissus lifting their faces to me
    Paper-white petals so fragile so strong
    Only in darkness can one truly see
    Miracles dance in the moonlight tonight!
    Dull was the day but the midnight was bright!
                                                       by Steven Curtis Lance

    I’m planting bulbs now, for bloom in April.  An investment or faith, one or the other. The hardware store, not usually the place you expect to find bulbs, had one of my favorite varieties.  Large bins held bulbs of six kinds, $15. per bag. The first bag had 55, but after planting those and, with the sale still on,  going back a second time, somehow the bag held 72.  Perhaps the larger bulbs were chosen by shoppers first and the smaller ones were left or maybe I really jammed them in this time.

    Narcissus bulbs, 55 to a bag on sale.
    ‘Ice Wings’ Narcissus bulbs, 55 to a bag on sale.

    The frosty Lamb’s ears accent the ‘Ice Wings’, I think.

    Narcissus 'Ice Wings'

    Triandrus narcissus 'Ice Wings' last year, April 2009

    Triandrus Daffodils are a group descended from wild daffodils, N. triandrus, found in Portugal and Spain. They are mostly the result of breeding small wild species with a standard daffodil to produce smaller and very charming daffodils, sometimes called “angel’s tears” for their bowed heads and curved back petals.  I say mostly, because they are also known to hybridize freely with most any daffodil, but if this happens in your garden, it can only make a delightful new cross.

    Triandrus daffodils generously put out several blooms, two to six per stem and bloom late, in April, after some of my yellow kinds. The clear white highlights some of the muted greens and grey greens of the Sierra foothill winter garden, so are perfect for mixing with softly colored California native plants.  Hardy beauties they are as, last winter, their icy wings were covered four or five times with layers of snow.

    Since ‘Ice Wings’ are known to naturalize, I’ve planted a line of them at the crest of my front bank in view of the bay window, along with the low native manzanita and creeping sage there. Hopefully, when Spring is here, my winter weary eye will catch sight of some soft white ice wings!

    Spring 2011-This post has an unusual epilogue. The ‘Ice Wings’ bulbs bought on sale turned out to be worth only what I paid and no bargain. They are not the variety ‘Ice Wings’ but a white daffodil with a pale butter yello trumpet, …pretty but not what I intended. My ‘weary eye’ is looking askance with an eyebrow raised.

    To see them bloom Daffodil design
    For more on what blooms here along with the daffodils, see:  Spring’s Ephemerals in the Sierra foothills
    For a list of CA native plants here before we came to the Sierra Foothill Garden, see: Existing Native Plants
    Daffodil Planter: Daffodil Blogorama 2011  … thanks, Charlotte!


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.