Gardens & Conservatory

Plants & Collections

The Nancy Roberts Pope Daffodil Collection

By Frank Robinson, executive director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Decades ago, Margaret Roberts Yerger inspired her niece Nancy Roberts to be passionate about gardening – especially Poet's daffodils (Narcissus poeticus) – which Mrs. Yerger loved and hybridized in her own garden. Years passed, Nancy married, raised a family, and as they matured, she decided she would study landscape design in the program here at Lewis Ginter. Sadly, her life was cut short by illness, but she found great joy in her studies and in the beauty of the Garden in her last years (a seed planted so long before by her aunt).

Nancy's parents, John and Jane Roberts, established a memorial fund in her memory, and we have annually expanded our collection of Poet's daffodils for 10 years. You will find the Nancy Roberts Pope collection in the woodland garden, not far from Bloemendaal House. Her parents recently provided a paved pathway through the woodland garden, so it is more accessible to those with mobility challenges. And, as we have been able to add a beautiful curved bench where there is a marvelous view through the Flagler Garden, dazzling white with Poet's in April. A plaque with a poem by Nancy is erected on an adjoining wall.

This past summer, we were given some of Mrs. Yerger's Poet's hybrids and delightedly planted them in the area devoted to Nancy's collection. Mrs. Yerger passed away this past winter at age 93. Somehow the circle is now full – love and admiration of beauty which has flowed from generation to generation in this family has happily completed its journey at Lewis Ginter.

I shall sit on that bench in April, admiring the Poet's (My grandfather grew them, too) and I will think about all they reflect of life, of generosity, and of the legacy we pass from one to another – sometimes seemingly so simple, yet so profound.

On a Spring Morning

by Nancy Roberts Pope (1941-1995)
On a spring morning
I found myself dreaming in a sea of Poeticus daffodils.
A windstorm blew without any warning
So I gathered a handful to brighten my house.
I saw at a distance a flock of grouse
Flying and chirping among my daffodils.
The wind died down and the birds flew away
And each little Poet lifted its pretty face to the day.