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Plants Online - Daffodil - Narcissus

Plants for sale - Daffodil - Narcissus

42

Narcissus
Hardy Bulb.
Height from six inches to two feet.
Flowers white and shades of orange and yellow, March to May.

The Narcissi are all true bulbous plants, forming each season a new bulb, which contains the germ of next year’s flowers and foliage. they are entirely hardy, in the ordinary sense; but they will dwindle and disappear if left for years in a heavy and cold or a dry starved soil.

They prefer plenty of moisture during the growing season – September to May – and a drier root-run, with a ripening touch from the sun while they are dormant during the other months.

They should be planted between the end of September and the end of October; after three or four years the clumps should be carefully forked up in September, the strongest bulbs replanted in a new place, and the smaller roots in some unimportant corner where they may increase themselves to the flowering size.

In unfavourable soils, or in cases of removal from a garden, the bulbs may be lifted as soon as the foliage begins to wither (about the end of May), and dried off in the sun.
When quite dry they should be cleaned of dead leaves, mould and old root-fibres and stored in a cool, dry place until planting time.

In all cases Narcissi should be allowed to ripen out their leaves; cutting them off while still green, for the sake of tidiness, injures the development of the bulb for next year’s display.
The leaves may be bunched up together, or tied up to make room for summer bedders or other successional flowers.

Good ordinary garden mould, woodland soil or meadow loam will grow Narcissi to perfection; if the soil is particularly clayey, or otherwise discouraging, dig out holes eighteen inches deep, stir plenty of leaf-mould and sandy grit into the bottom, fill up with the original soil, mixed with half its bulk of light compost, and surround the bulbs at planting with a handful of sharp sand.
This sort of preparation can only be done, of course, when the planting is on a modest scale.

For practical garden purposes the Narcissus may be classed under five headings, as follows:

1. The Trumpet Daffodils, single and double, with the calyx or central tube as long as the perianth or outer petals.
2. The Chalice Daffodils, with the calyx shorter than the perianth.
3. The Polyanthus Narcissus.
4. The Pheasant’s Eye Daffodils.
5. The Jonquils.

(1) The Trumpet Daffodils comprise some of the earliest and some of the commonest and easiest to grow, as well as some of the most recent and expensive types. The bulbs should be planted about four inches deep and two apart, in clumps of from five to twenty in borders, or in large masses in turf. The best named kinds are:

Telamonius plenus: the old English double Daffodil, yellow.
Telamonius: single.
Horsfieldii: single, yellow trumpet and white perianth; a magnificent flower, strong and hardy.
Emperor: single, very large, trumpet yellow, perianth a lighter shade.
Empress: single, large, yellow trumpet and pale perianth, in the way of Horsfieldii.
Trumpet Maximus: single trumpet and perianth; strong yellow.
Sir Watkin: single, one of the largest; yellow trumpet, lighter perianth.
Queen of Spain: pale yellow, reflexed perianth, delicately beautiful.

In addition to these the following more recent sorts are to be recommended: Golden Spur, Henry Irving, Princess Ida, Victoria.

(2) The Chalice Daffodils show some of the most beautiful colour-contrasts in the race, the cup being often edged with vivid orange, set against ivory white or primrose yellow.

The following are all good:

Barrii Conspicuous: single, broad yellow petals, fading to a paler shade, fringed cup of orange-red.
Figaro: single, perianth primrose, cup golden.
Golden Phœnix, or Incomparabilis: Double (“Butter and Eggs”), a close-petalled big flower almost like a rose, the petals of two shades of yellow, sweet-scented.
Silver or sulphur Phœnix (“Codlins and Cream”): like the preceding, but of a weaker growth; the petals of a beautiful primrose and pale lemon.
Orange Phœnix (“Eggs and Bacon”): double, very full, the petals creamy white and orange, sweet-scented.
Leedsii amabilis: single, six-rayed, star-shaped perianth, white; cup pale primrose, fading to white.
Nelsonii Major: single; petals or perianth broad, ivory-white, cup yellow.

The following are desirable: Flora Wilson, Lorenzo, Santa Fina, Lulworth.

(3) The Polyanthus Narcissus puts forth from a scrape or sheath at the top of a stout stem a cluster of single flowers, resembling the Chalice or short-trumpet section in shape, but smaller, and having a powerful scent which does not please all noses.

The best kinds are:

Bathurst: yellow.
Gloriosa: white perianth, orange cup.
Grand Monarque: white, pale yellow cup.
Jaune Suprême: yellow, orange cup.
White Pearl: white, cup pale sulphur.
Her Majesty: white, yellow cup.

With the Polyanthus must be classed Narcissus Biflorus, a very free-growing and hardy kind, which produces a pair of flowers on each stem, white with yellow cup, sweet-scented.

(4) The Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus has broad petals of a particularly fine and pure white; the cup is small and flat, yellow with a rim of light scarlet.
In addition to the well-known type (N. poeticus) there is an earlier kind, poeticus ornatus, flowering from a fortnight to three weeks sooner; and two or three “improved” strains, somewhat larger and with the scarlet of the sup more vivid in colour than the older kinds; such are the poeticus poetarum, and others called “grandiflorus”, “King Edward VII.”, etc., by the taste of various growers. Poeticus plenus, or Double White, the “Gardenia Daffodil” is a very beautiful form, with the pure white petals and the characteristic spicy scent of the Pheasant’s Eye tribe.

It is not difficult to grow, but in backward and moist springs its flowers sometimes decay before they can break out of their sheath.
It is the latest of all the daffodils, not blooming until the end of May.

(5) The Jonquils are a race of narrow leaves and small yellow flowers, possessed of a delightful characteristic scent.
They are hardy and easily grown, and may be left undisturbed for several years.
There is no great choice of sorts; the old single and double Jonquil and the Campernelle, a single with larger flowers, are all the varieties grown; but they are sufficient for any garden.

All the Narcissi, with the exception of the Polyanthus section, are at their best when grown among grass.
Any one who has any stretch of turf which need not be mown before the middle of May – a lawn, pond-banks, the verges of a drive, an orchard – should plant it thickly and irregularly with the commoner types of daffodil.
The bulbs may be put in with a trowel, or for large patches the turf may be pared off, and when the planting has been done, laid down again.
In any tolerable loamy soil the bulbs will increase rapidly, and will spread and naturalise themselves.
In planting in grass, the bulbs should not be mixed, but should be planted in separate groups or patches, each of one kind.

See also : Daffodil

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