As the garden progresses there are certain groups of plants that are starting to dominate. I make no apologies for the fact that I am planting lots of daffodils (narcissus) because I really like them. They seem to be doing reasonably well so far too although I am getting rather fed up with bulbs bought in garden centres being wrongly named and poor quality or even virused.
So I find that I get better results with bulbs bought by mail from specialists. Here is a little historic beauty called ‘Golden Spur’. I like both old and new daffs. I love the idea that I am holding a plant that was appreciated centuries ago but also enjoy the latest developments that dedicated breeders have achieved.
‘Golden Spur’ is a 1 Y-Y – meaning a yellow trumpet daff. It is not known who the breeder was but it is Dutch, dating to before 1885 allegedly found as a seedling on a private estate in Wassenaar. According to narcissus registers it is similar to but larger than N. hispanicus subsp. hispanicus var. propinquus or N. hispanicus subsp. hispanicus var. spurius.
When you delve into narcissus taxonomy, especially in the past, you get into some strange names. I have been rereading ‘The Narcissus’ by E A Bowles. You can get horribly baffled by old names. In the past people have split the genus narcissus into many smaller genera and the yellow trumpets were frequently called Ajax. Bowles writes about N. major which was later named Ajax propinquus. He writes ‘In his recent Monograph of Ajax, Mr. Pugsley writes ‘Propinquus has been almost lost to horticulture, and is perhaps most nearly represented by the popular garden plant known as “Golden Spur” which is somewhat intermediate between the varieties propinquus and spurius, but larger than either.”
Bowles say that ‘Golden Spur’ is different because of the more reflexed and boldly toothed mouth to the corona. He was obviously impressed with it, adding ‘To say that any new seedling is ‘as good and earlier than Golden Spur’ would be high praise indeed’.
My ten bulbs are flowering well. The photo is not impressive because I planted them for longevity – not too close. The stems are lengthening as the flowers age and I am liking them more every day.
The next daffodil will not be as complicated, I promise.