Early Daffodils and more than you might ever want to know about them!

DaveKarn@aol.com DaveKarn@aol.com
Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:35:40 PDT
TO:  Jim Waddick and others with an interest in daffodils (and that's 
everyone, right??)  ~

=>  Surely we have some daffodil-istas who can name a few reliable early cvs. 
(Dave K?).
Well, now, that all depends on how you define early! 
In milder Mediterranean areas (e.g., California), there are a whole range of 
multi-flowered types (tazettas) that will bloom as early as late September 
when soaked once to start them into growth from dormancy, the best known being 
Paperwhites, Soleil d'Or, Grand Primo, Erlicheer, (through to Spring with things 
like Golden Dawn, Geranium and Avalanche). One can get at least two months of 
bloom from these.  Then there are newer Fall bloomers, even solidly 
green-flowered Fall-bloomers, if that is where your fancy takes you . . .
During the Winter months (and this has to be in climates where the ground is 
not frozen for six months of the year or not subject to frequent deep freezing 
and thawing that will destroy the flowers) one can have week after week of 
flowers of the so called "hoop petticoat" types, both species and hybrids.  
Early on, the flowers are mostly a pristine white (N. cantabricus)  In late Winter 
and into early Spring they tend toward yellow, from lemon to molten-gold (N. 
bulbocodium).  If one has access to a cold greenhouse (you have no idea how 
lucky you are!!!) or a cold frame, pots of these bulbs will be in flower for a 
month.  They're not good indoor plants as they produce a mass of leaves and the 
bloom stems will readily etiolate in a warm room greatly shortening bloom 
==>    Like so many plant groups, it is a good idea to select early and late 
blooming cultivars to spread out the season. There's always a few at both 
extremes that can give you 5 or 6 weeks of flowers instead of one or two.
Sound advice.  For much of the country, one can have daffodils in bloom for 
two months with careful selection.  In the garden, the earliest large flowered 
hybrids are in Division 6 (Rapture, Charity May, Jenny, Jetfire, Beryl, Trena, 
Foundling, Winter Waltz, etc.).  The later blooming clones usually have N. 
jonquilla blood in their makeup.  They are usually multi-flowered and fragrant 
-- a luscious floral blend -- Stratosphere,  Flycatcher, Kokopelli, Quail (in 
particular), Indian Maid, Canary, Hillstar, Dickcissel, Pipit, Eland, etc.).  
Many of the little trumpet daffodils are very early (Small Talk, Little 
Beauty, Bird Music, etc.).  Many of the miniature jonquil types (Chit Chat, 
Sabrosa, Xit, Yellow Xit, Pequenita, Sun Disc, etc.) close out the season, along with 
the forms and hybrids of N. poeticus (Angel Eyes, Cantabile, Poet's Way, Vers 
Libre, etc.).  A long time favorite end of season bouquet for me -- an 
ethereally fragrant nosegay, really -- is a bunch of Chit Chat and deep blue muscari.

==>  Two worth mentioning that are giving a good show right now are

'Ceylon' a Div 2 with lemony petals contrasting nicely a cheery orange cup.
While an older clone, it is also very valuable as a daffodil for landscape 
display because the cup color is sunfast, i.e., it won't burn out in the bright 
Spring sunshine.  There are precious few that possess this most desirable 

==>  But I always look forward to last year's 'new' cvs I haven't grown or 
bloomed yet.  And those oddities like 'Xit', 'Chit Chat' etc.  So many 
daffodils, so much fun.

As with so many a plant genus, it is always the anticipation of something new 
to the garden that so increases the anticipation of Spring.  With some 
10-12,000 probable daffodil clones available someplace in the daffodil world, it 
would take a lifetime to collect them all . . .   {:^)
Too, daffodils are pretty scarce in gardens in August and September but this 
is when the "hopelessly bitten" (as daffodil breeder Murray Evans used to 
refer to them) can hop a plane for the long flight Down-Under for a satisfying, 
two month long daffodil fix in their Spring.  
Thus, with a little effort and the right climate daffodils can become a year 
'round flower -- not many geophytes can lay claim to that!
Dave Karnstedt
Cascade Daffodils
P. O. Box 237
Silverton, OR  97381-0237
email:  _davekarn@aol.com_ (mailto:davekarn@aol.com)  

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