Yesterday was the spring equinox! So this week I am celebrating with the Narcissus! They are such cheerful harbingers of spring and often highly scented too. With the longer daylight, although not so much more sunshine, everything in the garden is beginning to wake up after the very long winter sleep. I say everything, but two clematis are not showing any signs of coming back. They were new last year and one is in a container, the other in the ground. I shall be very disappointed if they die, not least because one from Sarah Raven was
quite very expensive.
Last autumn I went a bit mad with buying spring bulbs including several varieties of narcissus / daffodils, which brings me to my first point – what is the difference? In general, “daffodil” refers to the large-flowered varieties, “narcissus” to small-flowered and early-blooming types bearing clusters of blossoms, and “jonquil” denotes N. jonquilla, often with fragrant, yellow flowers. The flowers are divided into two parts: the perianth, made up of six outer petal segments, and the corona in the centre, shaped like a trumpet or cup (depending on length).
I bought a collection of rockery bulbs and some of the larger daffodils for my raised bed. Here are six that are flowering at the moment. Some, like the early ‘February Gold‘ and ‘Tête-à-tête‘ have just about finished, but I have others that have yet to open so all in all my bulbs will have lasted for 3-4 months.
(1) Narcissus ‘Martinette’ (40cm) is a brightly coloured daffodil with a small orange cup and several flowers on each stem and very scented. Tazzetta daffodils or narcissus are perfect if you are looking for fragrance in the garden, they have a delicious scent that fills the air. I planted these in pots and they are in the sun and have been flowering for weeks.
(2) ‘Toto‘ is a white flowered form of ‘Tête-à-tête‘ (15cm) which will thrill you with its prolific display of delicate pure white flowers with soft creamy-yellow cups. It has multi-flowered stems so they do actually look as though they are having a conversation. These are also in a pot and are last year’s bulbs that I removed after the foliage died down and re-potted in September.
(3) Narcissus triandrus ‘Thalia’ (30cm) was very much loved by the Victorians and has an understated elegance. It looks especially good in large swathes. The multi-headed trumpet daffodil emerges from its bud a greeny-white and opens to reveal a delightful, pure white fragrant flower.
(4) Narcissus ‘Pueblo’ (30cm) is a jonquil daffodil that opens soft, primrose yellow. As the flowers mature, the cup stays yellow and the petals fade to creamy white. It is also heavily scented and weather resistant. Which, as you can see from these photos, is just as well.
(5) Minnow is a dwarf (15-20cm) variety of daffodil with up to six flowers on each stem consisting of pale buttermilk yellow cups and creamy-white perianths segments. It is a charming and delicate looking flower and well suited to a container or a rockery.
(6) Narcissus tazetta ‘Geranium’ (35cm) bears clusters of 3-6 flowers per stem, adorned with creamy-white petals and deep orange-red cups, Tazetta daffodils have relatively broad leaves.
I hope you have enjoyed my little rays of sunshine, I only wish I could share the scents with you as some of them are delicious. I am beginning to appreciate these flowers as much or maybe even more than tulips. They seem to withstand the elements better in my wet and windy place. But the tulips are on their way so soon we’ll be able to compare. As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.
See here for the participant’s guide.