Monday, March 16, 2009

Plant profile: Narcissus (Daffodil)

Daffodils are essential in a garden, in my opinion. In late winter, when things look really bleak out there, and you are thinking "why do I bother? Why is life so hard? When can I move to the Bahamas?" daffodil bulbs spring to life and show off some beautiful yellow, white and orange flowers on long stalks, accompanied by long, thin, vertical leaves.

After flowering, the leaves store energy in the bulb for next year's flower, and then shrivel and die. You can cut off the dried up leaves when they have done their job, and you'll forget all about your daffs until next winter, when they'll start poking up again.

Latin name: Narcissus spp. ("nar-SISS-uss")
Common name: Daffodil
Originally from: Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
Blooms: Late winter, spring
Light: Likes full sun
Water: Rain is enough
Where to find in P. Garden: In a circle around the two front plum trees, and also in strips along the front of various border edges.

Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, and people wear them on St. David's Day (March 1st) - being from Wales, naturally I am fond of a proper daff display!

We put 400 mixed daffodil bulbs in when we first started planting P. Garden, and another 550 or so since then. Many are plain yellow (Trumpet style "Dutch Master") but we have a few white, pink and orange ones too: specific cultivars we have bought (they grow in groups of about 5 in the garden) are listed below, and this site is a good source of information abotu them.

I don't think you can have too many daffs, so I might get more, as well as some more paperwhites (a sweet-smelling version called Narcissus papyraceus) Daffodils multiply too, so each year the show will be more impressive.
Tazetta "Geranium" (Multi-headed white with a small orange cup)
Double Tazetta "Cheerfulness" (Multi-headed cream and yellow double)
Triandrus "White Thalia" (Multi-headed white with swept-back outer petals)
Small Cup "Barret Browning"  (White with a small orange cup)
Large Cup "Ice Follies" (White with a wide lemon cup)
Large Cup "Flower Record" (White with a wide orange-rimmed yellow cup)
Large Cup "Fragrant Rose" (White with a wide pink-rimmed cream cup)
Large Cup "Salome" (White with a wide pink cup)
Double "Golden Ducat" (Double yellow)
Double "Tahiti" (Double yellow and orange)
Double "Replete" (Double white and pink)
Double "White Lion" (Double white and yellow)
Trumpet "Dutch Master"  (Yellow)
Trumpet "Mount Hood" (White)

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