As I write this, on Sunday morning, it is a glorious day. The sky is blue, there is hardly a breath of wind and the sun has warmed the air to 18c after a sharp frost this morning. Things are set to change by the time this is posted though, with an Arctic blast on the cards. But, for now, a bunch of daffodils that were looking lovely.
First of all ‘Sulphur Phoenix’. This is the second oldest of the daffs in the garden, dating to 1820. It is basically a double form of the common wild daffodil and was called N. pseudo-narcissus albus plenus sulphureus. It is also the variety known as ‘Codlins and Cream’, codlins being cooking apples. The white and pale yellow presumably resembles a bowl of stewed apples and cream. My flowers are slightly young I suppose and the perianth is still quite yellow – more like codlins and custard! It is 4 W-Y for those who want to know. Considering the age of the plant it is a large flower, sweetly fragrant and a gem.
‘Croesus’ is a younger daff, dating back to 1912 and bred in England. The flowers are also quite large, about 10cm across (though officially slightly smaller). It has quite bright, modern colouring and must have been an exciting introduction at the time but the perianth is very narrow and creased by modern standards (2 Y-YYO). It is named after the fabulously wealthy King Croesus of Lydia who minted the world’s first coins and we still say ‘ as rich as Croesus’.
Modern daffodils are not always bigger than the old ones, though many are. There is lots of interest in miniature daffs, because they are perfect for small gardens and for pots. ‘Tiny Bubbles’ is an American miniature raised by Brent and Becky Heath before 2009 and is a miscellaneous hybrid (12 Y-Y) with reflexed perianth and long trumpet. It is just 10cm high and there are often two flowers to a stem. It is said to be very fragrant but I have been digging lately and I fear I wont get up again to tell you if I bent down to smell it. I will try later. It seems vigorous and is certainly a bright little thing.
Bringing us bang up to date – or as up to date as I can afford – is ‘Trenwith’ (1 Y-Y), a fabulous yellow trumpet daffodil raised by Ron Scamp and introduced in 2008. The large flowers, about 10cm across, are a golden yellow and the perianth is flat, broad and overlapping. The trumpet is perfectly shaped and is slightly deeper in colour. Although I love the charm and inadequacies of the old daffs I do appreciate the perfection of these modern varieties.
And, a follow-up on a previous post, ‘Love you More’ is getting lovelier every day as the flowers mature.
I feel the old forms of daffodils have held a great charm and are more attractive and interesting to me than the more recent introductions. ‘Sulphur Phoenix’ is perfectly beautiful in my eyes!