Burn, baby burn

What a week! We have been sitting under high pressure and, although not quite the wall-to-wall sunshine we were promised, it has been a week of glorious, sunny days. Nights have been chilly, as expected, with light frosts, which have touched the camellia flowers, but I can live with that – the days have been so lovely. Of course it means increased work in the garden, not just what I have been trying to do but extra watering, especially in the greenhouse. But flowers are popping up everywhere and I am loving it. But that ‘strong’ sunshine does not suit everything.

It has been interesting to see how it has affected some of the daffodils. The ‘orange’ bit in daffodils is a relatively recent development and the red pigments derive from the red rim from pheasants’ eye narcissus. This red tissue is notorious for ‘burning’ and scorching in strong sun and this characteristic has unfortunately been inherited along with the colour.

It is very unfortunate. Starting on a positive note, ‘Orange Sunset’ is new to me this year and has been blooming marvelous. It is a trumpet daff with white tepals, shaded yellow at the base and the trumpet opens apricot yellow but gets more orange as it matures. The colour is quite wonderful and very fruity. I absolutely love it.

But not all are so lovely. ‘Maria’ flowered for me last year and I was admiring of its short stems and intense colour. It was like a tubby ‘Jetfire’ and I was really enjoying it. But this year it has been open for a week or so and then the sun arrived and ARGHH.

The flowers are getting on a bit but the yellow tepals are not shrivelled so this is not just ageing, it is orange cups dissolving like a vampire caught in the first rays of dawn sun.

‘Hot Lava’ is even worse. In its defence, this is a ‘show’ daff, bred for perfection of form with smooth petals and perfect poise (compare with ‘Orange Sunset’ above which has creased tepals and would not win in a daff show). As such, ‘Hot Lava’ would be carefully shaded to prevent damage but it just shows what the blistering Irish sun can do!

This flower was perfection the day before, when it had just opened.

In contrast, ‘Plymouth Hoe’ is doing quite well and is standing up to the sun, and looking very distinctive and classy.

Yesterday was daffodil day, to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society, so it is appropriate to show ‘Marie Curie Diamond’ named to celebrate the diamond anniversary of Marie Curie Cancer Care. It is a jonquil with outstanding fragrance and seems to be a good doer, even though this is only its second year in this garden. It has an AGM.

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7 Comments on “Burn, baby burn”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    March 26, 2022 at 10:16 am #

    A number of years back the community groups along the road to Woodstown – on the coast between Waterford and Dunmore East – planted masses of daffodils along the roadside. We go to Woodstown beach regularly for a walk and have often commented that the daffodils with an orange trumpet makes the best mass display as the trumpet stands out better than the yellow ones. Great weather here as well and no frost.

    • thebikinggardener
      March 26, 2022 at 10:42 am #

      Of course, not all orange cups burn so badly and good old ‘Fortune’, while not deep orange, is still popular. I have always had a soft spot for ‘Ceylon’, which I planted in my youth and, of course, is a Waterford daff, raised by Lionel Richardson. I agree that yellow and orange daffs always look as though they have a spring in their step!

  2. Mitzy Bricker
    March 26, 2022 at 6:40 pm #

    I cannot see daffodils without thinking of this poem:
    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45521/i-wandered-lonely-as-a-cloud

  3. tonytomeo
    March 27, 2022 at 4:32 pm #

    That is a new one to me. I was not aware that the orange parts are more sensitive to scorch. Although I prefer the traditional yellow and white, there are a few odds and ends out there, and some are partially orangish yellow. The weather is famously sunny here. The daffodil and narcissus finished bloom quite a while ago though.

    • thebikinggardener
      March 27, 2022 at 5:12 pm #

      Although your daffodils have finished I bet you have more exciting things to follow on!

      • tonytomeo
        March 27, 2022 at 7:23 pm #

        That is relative. What you consider to be exciting might be mundane here. Daffodils and narcissus are exciting here because they do not naturalize anywhere. (Although, I got my first daffodils and narcissus from abandoned and naturalized cut flower crops in Montara.) I am presently in Washington, and find the heather to be particularly interesting, just because it dislikes the arid climates of so much of California.

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