1… 2… 3… Narcissus!
I’ve waited and waited, this wet and chilly limbo between winter and spring wouldn’t end but at last some real sun got out of the clouds and shone. It actually started warming even too much, I went from the thursday jumper straight to a sunday T-shirt but I won’t complain at all.
Last year David@the Anxious Gardener wrote that quite often narcissus skip the second year of blooming because they need to settle, apparently they bloom in the first year because they’ve been kind of pumped up by the breeder, then they stay ‘dormant’, producing only leaves, during the second year. Well I was worried my bulbs could have behaved so: I bought them on some low-cost dutch website and I was prepared for the worse. Indeed my narcissus are looking even better than last year and all of them are blooming, having me sigh in relief. They’ve increased in number and become even taller than last year, evidently my soil is as poisonous for tulips as good for daffodils.
Indeed the only tulips which so far are not disappointing me this year are t. praestans Shogun: a rather short, very free flowering bright orange version of a species. Unfortunately tulip turkestanica decided to go missing this year, it’s a shame since I was planning on naturalizing some of them in the woodland meadow.
Due to the unceasing rain we had lately, slugs and snails have been banqueting on my poor narcissus, so the early ones are rather spoiled and chewed, it’s a pity. All the n. ‘February Gold’ had lasted very shortly because of the rain, my beloved n. ‘Canary Bird’ and the big white ‘Mount Hood’ have been chewed when still in bud, so that the flowers are now opening like a people chain, like one of those children use to carve out of folded paper.
I’ve intentionally planted a bunch of n. Mount Hood close to a oil green coloured phormium because I liked the duet but eventually the phormium always gets over winter very shaken (to be politically correct, even though the word I had in mind was fringed). At the end of the day, though, the combination works better seen from a distance that entangles the new wine red leaves of the persicaria: I shall remember this colour works well with a creamy white in spring, I could even use some roses’ new leaves as well…
Under the cherries another good narcissus of the jonquil type is at its prime: it’s the tall, sweetly scented n. Geranium. I think this variety is perfect to be naturalized on a meadow where the grass is left uncut. Narcissus Segovia looks very similar to a wild narcissus but although it is very scented its flowers are too scarce and small to be planted on my woodland garden, I think I need bolder features, stuff I can at least glimpse from my kitchen window.
Slipping back to white cultivars there are other two that I didn’t mention yet: the medium sized n. Curlew, with its off-white long trumpet, blooming under a yet leafless rose, I don’t recall any scent in particular but the abundance in blooming and the elegance of the flower shape make up for it.
Another good one is n. Sailboat, rather similar to the previous one but shorter in height and with a shorter trumpet too, star shaped outer petals and a butter shade on the centre. I can’t report any scent either on this one but I have to admit I didn’t kneel on the gravel to smell it. This one has dark leaves and they’re thinner too, I grow a solo clump in the gravel garden and I reckon it’s a perfect spot for it.
Speaking of the gravel garden there are something else that are flowering like mads now and they’re the three amelanchier (two lamarkii and one canadensis but they look just alike in everything). Last year blossom was disappointing, as well as the berries produced but that was because of the drought we had, this year I’m counting on at least a few berries to add to my fruit salads in early summer. I love the strong almond taste they have.
I guess I wrote a lot, haven’t I? Well I still have a couple of pics I need to show you but I’ll be quick, I promise.
In the grass garden there are narcissus Hillstar underplanted with some white muscari. The muscari are far behind the daffs, I hope they’ll catch up on time: they would echo the white halo that appears at the base of the yellow trumpet when the flower ages (you still can’t see it in the picture). This narcissus is very free flowering and strongly scented, I like it. I also like n. Bellsong, with its pinkish orange trumpets and its sweet perfume. Thumb down indeed for the tiny n. Minnow: the flower is pretty, the scent is rather good (if you managed to sniff it) but the flowers don’t reach a small coin in size and they dare being down facing… What shall we do to have a glimpse of you, little Minnow? Maybe crawl?!