Posts Tagged ‘daffodils’

Narcissus ‘Canaliculatus’

April 7, 2016

Narcissus ‘Canaliculatus’ is now in flower in my garden – taking over from ‘February Gold’ and the exquisite ‘Thalia’. Note the name – from the sound of it, you would think it should be canaliculatus, analogous to Narcissus papyraceus. In other words a species, such as might be found growing wild in some stony outcrop in southern Europe or North Africa. But this daffodil is a hybrid, as the inverted commas around the name indicate. Hence it won’t breed true from seed.

Narcissus 'Canaliculatus'

Narcissus ‘Canaliculatus’

It has all the appearance of one of the species, however. Dainty and neat-growing, at 25cm (10in) tall at most, it produces tissue-paper-textured flowers that nevertheless stand up to variable April weather well. The trumpets, short and pale yellow initially, have now lengthened with age and faded to only a slighter darker cream than the backing petals. A pretty thing that I hope will bulk up in subsequent years.

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Narcissus ‘February Gold’

March 30, 2016

‘February Gold’ must be one of the best of all the daffodils. True, there are a couple of others that flower even earlier, but they are not so freely available. I made a planting last October and they were in flower before the end of January and have only just gone over. I made a second planting at the turn of the year (garden centre bargain – all bulbs half price), and these began flowering only at the start of March. But they are still going strong. Next year, I expect all to flower simultaneously.

Narcissus_February_Gold_closeup

Not only is this daffodil good and early – it also has considerable style. Admittedly the flowers are of the typical brassy yellow, but that’s a welcome colour on miserable February days when the usual snowdrops and hellebores can look a little pallid. What distinguishes it (for me) is its elegant habit. Dwarf it is not, the stems extending to a good 30cm (12in) or more, and the trumpets (technically coronas) are long and narrow, the perianth segments, or petals, nicely reflexing without looking as though they have been through a wind tunnel. And it is much more robust than it appears, standing up to heavy rain, wind and late frosts. I shall definitely be planting more later this year.

Narcissus ‘Actaea’

May 2, 2010

The daffs have pretty much finished now, but rounding them off is possibly my favourite, Actaea. This is rather similar in appearance to the species poeticus var. recurvus – the pheasant’s eye narcissus – but being a hybrid has somewhat larger flowers and a generally more robust appearance.

Actaea has glistening, sweetly fragrant flowers and is one of the last daffodils to flower

They are glistening white with a very shallow, bright orange cup, added to which, they are delightfully scented – much fresher than the hyacinths, which are also flowering now. Be sure to order some in the autumn if you do not already grow it.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

August 6, 2009

I mentioned Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in my August newsletter, happily flowering in my garden despite the wet weather.

The late Alan Bloom, who introduced the plant into the UK, rated it as the best – and who could argue with that? Certainly, it’s a superb plant, with arching stems that produce tapering clusters of orange-red flowers among sheaves of pleated leaves. The flowers at the base open first, as you can see in the picture – I’m not sure that the ones at the tip ever do.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Apparently, they are recommended for cutting, though I think the flowers wouldn’t last long in water – the point is to wait for the seed heads (which are attractive) to form, then use these. Incidentally, the plant can’t be grown from seed, so unless you are planning to do some flower arranging – something I never do – cut the stems back after flowering.

While bold clumps are the ideal, the underground corms quickly become congested and can fail to flower (as with daffodils). They need dividing regularly – I’ll post details of how to do this in the autumn.