Of all the 13 different divisions of daffodils, perhaps it is Division 8 that is the most neglected in gardens. The exceptions are the marvellous ‘Geranium’ – which is yet to open – and ‘Paperwhite’ daffodils that are grown almost exclusively for Christmas. Division 8 are called Tazetta daffodils and typically have many flowers per stem, from 3-20. Some are crosses with ‘poet’s’ and are called Poetaz and have fewer, larger flowers. As a group, the Tazettas need more warmth and sun than most others and are, I suspect, better for areas that do not have cold winters. Although they may prefer warmth and mild springs I have always flirted with them, even in the East Midlands in the UK where winters are cold (and summers generally hot and dry) and was encouraged by the fact that ‘Paperwhite’ did quite well outside.
So last autumn I added about 20 to the garden, in various kinds. I doubt that any will do better or make me happier than ‘Geranium’ which is robust, flowers like crazy, has delightful orange and white flowers and smells lovely. But I am hoping to be amazed. One thing that is interesting about all the group is that they have especially big and lovely bulbs with shiny skins. It was almost a shame to bury the poor things, the were so lovely!
This spring some of them got off to a faltering start – they do tend to try to bloom early and quickly, opening flowers before the leaves are fully developed. Wet, cold weather upset the first stems and insomniac slugs dealt with the first buds effectively. But despite the recent cold and wind they are starting to make a show.
There are lots more daffs to come, including all the old historics which are planted in a row in a bed at the bottom of the garden.