CHANGE Carol dividing daylilies GLOWS ENCOUNTER; It's daffodil time and everywhere you look, there are sheets of yellow. One of our most iconic flowers, delightful daffodils can brighten any spot with their bold and beautiful or elegant and dainty blooms.
Beneath the trees, in parks, gardens and road verges, the grass is set aglow.
Where we live, the wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus grows in profusion, its chrome yellow trumpets surrounded by pale primrose perianths. Though it's only eight inches high, the impact it creates is dramatic.
As gardeners, we can learn a lot about the most effective use of daffs from studying the way the native plant distributes itself, not in straight lines but in great swathes.
Many of the smaller hybrid daffodils we incorporate into our gardens have a lot in common with the Tenby daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus.
Who could help but admire the pale lemon blooms of Narcissus W.P. Milner, nodding gently on a spring day? Since it is closely related to the native plant, it loves the same conditions.
In a garden setting, it does well among shrubs and under trees or shadier spots in the rock garden.
A triandrus hybrid, N. Jenny, has slender pale lemon trumpets which fade to white and it has real elegance. Narcissus Hawera is even daintier and fares best in a trough, rock garden or a corner in front of a border. Flowers are flat with a short trumpet. Another group of dainty daffodils are those descended from the jonquil, Narcissus jonquilla. Most have vivid yellow flowers with small cups, fine, rush-like foliage and sweet fragrance.
The species come from hillsides in Portugal, Spain and North Africa and need plenty of sun to ripen their bulbs and flower well.
Last autumn, we planted the double-flowered form, Narcissus jonquilla Flore Pleno in the beds of our brick garden. It is the hottest part of the plot, open and exposed with brick paths that soak up heat. Hopefully the bulbs will get enough sun to encourage them to flourish and flower every year.
Another which grows in damp meadows in the mountains is Narcissus cyclamineus. It is dainty, its perianth drawn back, continuing the line of its long trumpet to produce a graceful nodding flower. The hoop-petticoat narcissus, N. bulbocodium, is a real individual. Its common name perfectly describes the pretty flowers where the cup or corona is enlarged and the perianth reduced to skinny little petals.
Last of all is Narcissus poeticus, the flower that materialised from the handsome youth who fell in love with his own reflection. It is perhaps the most beautiful of all, with round white perianth and a tiny cup, greeny yellow with a red edge. Its perfume is soft and sweet.
Daffodils are one of our most iconic garden flowers. Millions and millions of hundreds and hundreds of cultivars are planted each autumn and the majority are big, bold and beautiful.
But they are not the only option.
River banks are gilded with hundreds of small but brilliant yellow flowers of Narcissus pseudonarcissus. They relish heavy soil and seem to enjoy the few weeks they spend practically submerged. Many bulbs would object but they have evolved with the constant rise and fall of the water and get better every year.
If your garden is damp, especially in spring, Narcissus cyclamineus or bulbocodium would work well.
Narcissus pseudonarcissus, Narcissus poeticus recurvus and many jonquils can be purchased from bulb specialists as dry bulbs but neither cyclamineus or bulbocodium store well and are best bought in growth in pots.
FLOWER POWER Carol puts narcissus daffodils into buckets
GOLDEN WONDER Narcissus Hawera
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Apr 17, 2016|
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