'KING ALFRED' daffodil -

johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk
Fri, 13 May 2005 23:27:23 PDT
Leo Martin's recollections of Harold Koopowitz's comments on the rapid
supercession of 'King Alfred' prompt me to suggest that there a great many
plants 'out there' in general cultivation that have long been superseded by
better cultivars but which for one reason or another hang on in the
catalogues/books. One is ease of propagation, as some clones multiply much
better than others and can easily be mass-produced where 'better' ones are
more difficult.

Another, and also very potent reason, is emotion. The success of 'King
Alfred' must surely be due in part to the name, which has a great appeal to
all Anglo-Saxons. One can think of other examples: the Rose 'Peace' for
example, or Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding', both superseded in their groups in
technical terms, but retaining a high place in the public's view.

We must not forget marketing either! Michael Jefferson-Brown in his book
'Daffodils' says of 'King Alfred': In 1899...100 bulbs were sold for over £5
each - the total would have bought a street of houses. %0 years in the
limelight embedded its name in the public consciousness to such an extent
that it is still used as a label to sell many later-raised kinds. despite
this huge advance it was not always the easiest of plants to grow.'

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP

Website: http://www.colesbournegardens.org.uk/

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