How a child sees a flower: Daffodil ‘Spinner’

More daffodils have been opening in the garden and some are new to me. Some of the new ones are planted in a raised bed and I will plant them in the garden as they start to die down. I thought this would be a good place for them, but it seems that the fox has been using it as a playground. He has become very playful, full of the joys of spring, and now races round the garden playing and his favourite new game is biting the heads off tulips. I will (almost) forgive him, but I have scattered chilli flakes around the beds to try to dissuade him. I have continued to put a few dog biscuits out for him, by the compost heaps, to try to dissuade him from coming near the house. But should be talking about daffodils. When new daffs arrive in autumn, I put the biggest bulbs in pots to enjoy and any easily removed side-bulbs and small bulbs were planted in the bed to grow on. Anyway, one of these is ‘Spinner’.

This struck me as a very strange flower when I saw it on Fluwel’s website. Bred by Karel van der Veek, it was registered in 2019 and is a large-cupped daffodil (2 Y-O). That sounds distinctly mundane but this flower is anything but. Most newer daffodils aim to have broader, rounder petals and unusual colours but this one breaks every rule and does what it wants – and does it well. The petals are narrow and propellor-like and the colours are bold and brash. If a child were to draw a daffodil and colour it with felt-tips it would look like this.

It is brightest orange and yellow and the petals are thick and have, so far, stood up to the weather well. What you can’t see is how huge the flowers are. They are gigantic. Only the first flowers have opened so far and there are more to come but it is already my favourite daff of the season. Different is not always better but there is something so simple and happy about this flower that I am delighted to have it in the garden. And it is scented.

Until now I always looked forward to ‘Pride of Lions’ (2 Y-O), another from Fluwel, because of its fiery, large flowers but it gets knocked into second place next to ‘Spinner’. What is better still is that neither burn in the sun and that orange cup seems sunproof – on both.

And for something a little less brash there is ‘Warming Up’. This appears not to be registered yet but is early and a large-cupped. The large flowers are, like most Dutch daffs, able to cope with garden conditions and they have not been ruined by the rough weather they have been greeted with since the buds opened. Daffodils always face away from a dark background to face the sun as they open but this clump have all faced north, away from the prevailing wind – a very sensible action and undoubtedly the reason the flowers have survived. I like this one.

It was not until I just checked that I realised that this daff is another Karel van der Werk introduction (2013 2W-P). I am mentioning it because it is a lovely thing and, more notably, it has done so well in the garden. Down the drive, in grass, I have planted lots of daffs, in pink and white, and in about ten varieties. The idea was that they would bloom under the apple trees at the same time. I don’t think that will ever happen but the two elements are doing well even if they never synchronise. Some of the daffs have done better than others and ‘Skype’, perhaps because it is the earliest to bloom, seems the happiest in what are fairly tough conditions. The clumps of bulbs have increased and the flowers are very beautiful. The petals are pure white and gently swept back and the long pink cup, that must be on the verge of being a trumpet, is a good colour and beautifully flared. It is a perfect flower. It is rather modest in its poise, looking down, which may seem to be a disadvantage to some, just adds to its charm.

Something very different is ‘Angel’s Breath’ (5 Y-Y) a Triandrus hybrid from Tasmania (1998). In some respects it is similar to the much-loved ‘Hawera’ which is from New Zealand and almost a century older. ‘Angel’s Breath’ is (so far) short and stocky with narrow foliage that overtops the flowers. Stems carry up to four (according to the register) or up to eight (in my plants) cute, butter yellow flowers that are very sweetly scented. Mine are in a pot for this spring so will have to go into the raised beds after they have died down or the front of a border – they are only about 20cm high.

And, with hopes for real spring weather as Easter approaches, a mix of them all, with some freesias (from the greenhouse)

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5 Comments on “How a child sees a flower: Daffodil ‘Spinner’”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    March 27, 2023 at 11:17 am #

    A nice selection. The triandrus cultivars appeal to me a great deal. And, thanks for the supplier’s name – a good site.

  2. Dee
    March 27, 2023 at 5:49 pm #

    Beautiful! I’ve just put a reminder in my phone to buy some daffodil bulbs next September, especially in those deepest yellow and orange colours. I have a few daffs but the ones I have all seem to be very pale/white in colour. They’re beautiful but your column just reminded me how lovely and badly needed the deep yellow and orange ones are in these flower bare months of February and March! Thanks.

  3. Meriel
    March 27, 2023 at 11:33 pm #

    Especially loving the last two, ‘Skype’ & ‘Angels Breath’ .- which reminds me I think my few ‘Hawera’ must have gone blind – I can’t remember them in the past few years.. I am particularly. keen on butter, primrose and lemon flowers which are either dainty and refined.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 10, 2023 at 12:36 pm #

      I planted ‘Hawera’ at ‘the garden’ and they persisted in grass though it was n a patch of rather sandy soil.

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