April 5, 2019 By Remington Bertrand In Garden Plants
Though the modern varieties of trumpet daffodils are a result of crosses between various species.
N. color, parent of the two-toned trumpet narcissus, has similar large flowers having a corona of golden yellow and segments of white or cream. The parentage of the white trumpet daffodils is shared between three or more species. The subspecies TV. is a small flowered and modestly drooping plant. The and white flowers open from late April to May. Grown in a mass they have an unassertive charm, more so as the flowers are delicately fragrant.
N. alpestris from the Pyrenees has the same modest , and small flowers, pure white, are borne on six inch (15 cm) stems. They open earlier than the other white species in April. Of the other stud species, TV. with off-white flowers, I know very little. It objected to the hospitality offered, for after a frugal display of blossom in two years it languished and died.
Fortunately, this notable display of ill manners has not been passed on to its offspring, which in a fairly strong clay nourished exceedingly beyond all expectations. Crossing between white, yellow, and color species has produced the enormous range of colors on offer at the present time. However, TV. alpestris and N. albescens have been united with TV. pseudonarcissus moschatus by modern authors – (a subspecies of great variation with a wide geographical distribution).
There is an understandable tendency to assume that all species of narcissus are hardy, adapting easily to garden conditions. While the majority do, there are some which only grow when given specialised cultivation. The jonquil, together with near relatives N. rupicola and N. requienii offer a challenge to the skill of those who attempt to grow them. The jonquil N. jon-quilla, with rush-like leaves is one which continues to resist all my efforts.
The yellow flowers carried on io-inch (25-cm) stems are heavily perfumed. Grown in a cold greenhouse, they make a pleasant accompaniment to the alpines which also enjoy protection from inclement weather. N. requienii, a tiny member of the group which comes from northern Spain is a gem only 6 inches (15 cm) high. Up to five yellow flowers open on the stems, each one with a frilled central cup.
Six bulbs maintain a precarious existence in the well-drained soil of a table bed. When I see the flowers which open in late March or early April being battered with heavy rain or sleet, I do feel that this fragile beauty would be happier in the greenhouse. Not so N. rupicola, which has made a bed half-way up a south-facing slope in the rock garden a home from home.
It is hardly surprising that the bulbs thrive in stony ground, for in the wild they grow 6 to 7000 feet (1800 to 2100 m) up the mountain sides in Portugal. The flowers inches (3.5 cm) in diameter and deep yellow in color are carried singly on 6-inch (15-cm) stems during May. Good drainage is absolutely essential or these bulbs will not flourish. N. juncifolius is another fine miniature jonquil.
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