Narcissus is the generic name for one of the oldest known plants and covers, jonquils and the flowers generally known as narcissi.
They are as difficult to choose asfor although they have not the same variation in colour, they have much more variation in form.
There are nine main classes or divisions of narcissus besides the wild species, with colour varying from white through every shade of yellow to orange and pink. The trumpet is sometimes the same colour as the perianth (the outer part) and sometimes a deeper shade or even a different-colour altogether.
Narcissus bulbs prefer moisterthan tulips and they will grow well in partial shade. In fact, the bright orange varieties keep their colour better in semi-shady positions.
They are useful for planting between shrubs and among small trees, and look lovely in grass; but do not cut the grass until the leaves have died down.
Plant in mid-August, in a sheltered position, 6 in. deep and 9 in. apart, preferably in moist, sandy loam.
There is no need to lift narcissi until they become crowded, but keep their positions well weeded and forked over as the foliage decays, because the narcissus fly lays its eggs in the holes left by the dead foliage, or in cracks in the soil nearby.
As soon as the leaves are dead, scuffle the ground so that these holes are filled up, and dust with an insecticide to kill the grubs as they hatch.
If any bulbs come up in the spring with discoloured or distorted foliage, dig them up immediately and burn them. Burn also any bulbs which are soft when lifted.
TRUMPET NARCISSI (DAFFODILS)
About is to 24 in., one flower to a stem, with the trumpets as long or longer than the perianth segments.
Beersheba, perianth and trumpet pure white.
King Alfred, perianth and trumpet bright yellow.
Mount Hood, perianth and trumpet pure white.
Mulatto, perianth and trumpet sulphur yellow.
President Lebrun, white perianth, deep cream trumpet.
Queen of Bicolors, white perianth, canary-yellow trumpet.
About 16 to 20 in., one flower to a stem, with the cup, or corona, more than one-third but less than the whole length of the perianth segments.
Aranjucz, perianth clear yellow, cup deep apricot edged orange.
Fortune, perianth soft yellow, cup glowing orange.
John Evelyn, perianth white, cup soft apricot.
Mrs. R. O. Backhouse, 14 in., creamy-white perianth, cup apricot.
Polindra, perianth white, cup clear yellow.
Selma Lagerlof, perianth white, cup creamy-yellow with orange band.
White Nile, perianth white, cup deep cream.
About 16 to 20 in., one flower to a stem, with the cup not more than one-third the length of the perianth segments.
Edward Buxton, perianth soft yellow cup light orange with red margin.
Firetail, perianth creamy-white, cup crimson-scarlet.
La Riante, perianth pure white, cup deep red.
Polar Ice, perianth pure white, cup white with green centre.
Pomona, perianth pure white, cup apricot-orange with red rim.
Verger, perianth pure white, cup bright orange.
Double-flowered narcissi are not, on the whole, good in wet seasons. For garden purposes the best are:
Mary Copeland, H in., one flower to a stem, semi-double, creamy-white and orange-red in centre.
Twink, 20 in., one flower to a stem, pale primrose with orange centre.
These graceful plants, carrying several flowers on one stem, are derived from the various wild Narcissus triandrus. The flowers are pendant, the perianth tending to turn back or reflex. They grow up to 15 in. high:
Shot Silk, creamy-white.
Tresamble, pure white.
Derived from the wild Narcissus cyclamineus and so called because the perianths turn right back like cyclamen. They are single flowered and grow up to 12 in.
Beryl, primrose flowers and an orange cup.
February Gold, bright yellow.
Garden Princess, bright yellow.
March Sunshine, bright yellow.
The wild jonquils are grown mostly for their delightful scent.
Narcissus jonquilla, 10 in., 2 to 6 small golden single flowers to a stem. Has a double form.
N. odorus rugulosus (campernelle), 13 in., 2 to 4 deep yellow single flowers with wrinkled cup to a stem. Has a double form.
I.anarth, 18 in., 2 to 4 flowers with golden perianth and orange cup to a stem.
Orange Queen, 13 in., 2 to 4 deep golden-orange flowers to a stem.
Trevithian, l2 in., 2 to 3 flowers with lemon perianth and clear yellow cup to astern.
About 16 to 22 in., all bunch-flowered, that is, with four to six 2-in. Flowers on one stem. Some are sweet scented.
Cheerfulness, creamy-white perianth, double pale yellow centre, scented.
Geranium, pure white perianth, orange-scarlet cup.
Laurens Koster, pure white perianth, orange-yellow cup.
All these are singles.
Actaea (a hybrid), 17 in., broad snow-white perianth, and orange cup.
N. recurvus (old pheasant’s eye), 17 in., white perianth and deep red eye. Good for planting in grass.
Queen of Narcissi, is in., white perianth and orange cup.
The growing of the wild species and dwarf hybrids is a special interest, as some of them require conditions different from those in the ordinary garden. Two which can be grown in the very front of a border or on a rockery are:
Narcissus obvallaris (Tenby daffodil), 8 in., single flowers, clear golden-yellow.
W. P. Milner, 8 in., single flowers,dainty sulphur-yellow.