Great for Containers,
Garden Borders and Rock Gardens-
The Species Narcissus
THE NEW FREEDOM HEIRLOOM BULB SALE WILL BE HELD
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12-13, 2019
IN THE PARKINGLOT NEXT TO 60 EAST HIGH STREET,
NEW FREEDOM, PA.
THIS WILL BE COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND,
NOT THE WEEKEND FOLLOWING COLUMBUS DAY.
ALL OF THE BULBS DISCUSSED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK:
FOR SPECIFIC BULBS, YOU CAN CLICK ON THE “BUY NOW” BUTTON LOCATED ON EACH PHOTO AND THAT BUTTON WILL TAKE YOU TO THE WEBPAGE WHICH DISCUSSES THAT BULB
To learn more about forcing bulbs in water
or soil watch our videos on YouTube.
Forcing Bulbs in Water
Forcing Bulbs in Pots
This year Harvesting History’s fall newsletter series is going to focus on spring flowering bulbs that are critter resistant and great plants for nourishing pollinators. In the last six newsletters, we discussed Rock Garden Irises (Iris reticulatas), Chionodoxas (Glory of the Snow), Galanthus (Snowdrops), Hyacinthoides (Bluebells), Species Tulips, Native American Bulbs and Alliums. In this newsletter, we are going to discuss some of the rarer Species Narcissus.
All you have to do is whisper the word, narcissus, and visions of meadows of sunshine yellow flowers come to mind. In today’s world, with critters like deer, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, moles and voles feasting on many of our spring blooming bulbs, the narcissus has become the most popular spring garden flower.
Narcissus is the name given to a vast family of plants. Jonquils are included in that family, and daffodils are a common name for narcissus. Narcissus are part of the Amaryllis family and are native to many parts of our planet, but not North and South America. All of the narcissus grown in the United States were brought here from Europe, the British Isles and the Middle East.
The Latin name, narcissus, was believed to have been derived from the Greek myth about Narcissus. However, Pliny, the Roman naturalist, argued that the name, Narcissus, derives from the term, narkao, meaning to benumb and thatit is a reference to the bulbs’ medicinal abilities to cause instant numbness.
It was the Romans who brought winter hardy narcissus varieties to Britain in the early centuries AD. By the 17th century, Europeans had been cultivating daffodils for at least 1000 years, and the first doubles were being developed. The earliest European settlers to the New World brought daffodils with them. As early as 1651, a mere 44 years after the first colonists arrived in Jamestown, large,naturalized meadows of daffodils were described in writing near the town of Gloucester, VA.
Today, the Species Narcissus are the last of the wild narcissus commercially available. There are at least 50 varieties and most of them are indigenous tothe Iberian Peninsula. They are rugged little plants that flourish in full sun and partial shade. They also make some of the best early spring container plants and, with the exception of Bulbocodium Golden Bells, all can be forced in pots.
These much adored flowers have been a part of this country’s horticultural heritage since before the US was founded. Today’s newsletter is going tointroduce you to 4 enchanting heirloom varieties that are rarely seen inAmerican gardens: dainty, fragrant with distinctively different blossomsthat make them truly unique. Anyone of them or all four will stir theimagination in your spring garden.
Canaliculatis is a lovely, dainty daffodil that reaches a height of no more than 6-8 inches and can be shorter. It is said to be hardy in Zones 8-9, but I grow it in Zone 4 after planting it 6-8 inches deep. Each flower stem can contain up to 7 blossoms.
The blossoms remind me of a bulbocodium hoop petticoat surrounded by large, white petals. Each blossom is no more than 2 inches in diameter. The blossoms produce a sweet scent – nowhere near as strong as Albus Plenus Odoratus
It shows best when planted in drifts of 25 bulbs or more. Bulbs should be planted 4-8 inches deep and no more than 2 inches apart.
If you are planning to plant in pots or to force Canaliculatis, plant 8 bulbs in a 6-inch pot.
Narcissus Bulbocodium Golden Bells
Bulbocodium Conspicuuous Golden Bells, AKA the Yellow Hoop Petticoat narcissus, (pictured above) may be the most uniquely shaped narcissus that you will ever see. The 5 inch tall plants produce 3-4 flower stems. Each stem carries a brilliant yellow flower shaped like a funnel emerging from a tiny yellow star-shaped group of petals. The leaves are grass-like and insignificant.
This narcissus is native to Spain, Portugal and southwestern France and was introduced into cultivation around 1629.
It shows best when planted in drifts of 25 bulbs or more. Bulbs should be planted 4-5 inches deep and no more than 4 inches apart. It is an excellent naturalizer and hardy from Hardiness Zones 4-9.
This narcissus does not force well, but it can be grown in outdoor pots for decks or patios. Plant 6-8 bulbs in a 6-inch pot. Make sure to add 1/4 cup of bone meal to the soil.
Hawera was developed before 1928 by plant developer, Dr. William Thompson, in Hawera, New Zealand. The plant is a cross between N. jonquilla and N. triandus. Its leaves are thin and rush-like. The petals are a soft yellow with a round cup that can be slightly paler. Blossom stems may produce as many as 8 flowers. The flowers bloom in succession leaving the impression of a very long lasting bloom. Plants can reach a height of 12 inches and are hardy from Hardiness Zones 4-9.
It shows best when planted in drifts of 10 bulbs or more. Bulbs should be planted 6-8 inches deep and no more than 2 inches apart.
Hawera can be forced in soil or planted outdoors in containers. The general rule of thumb is 6-8 bulbs per 6-inch pot.
Narcissus Albus Plenus Odoratus
Albus Plenus Odoratus is another Species Narcissus. It is a very rare, naturally occurring double which was introduced into cultivation in 1861. It is often called the “Double Pheasant’s Eye”.
The blossom has a snow white perianth with a frilled, double pale yellow center edged with red. The plant, itself, reaches a height of 14-16 inches. Its most splendid characteristic is its incredible fragrance.
Albus Plenus Odoratus is known to be an excellent candidate for forcing and conainers. Plant 4-6 bulbs per 6-inch pot.It shows best when planted in drifts of 10 bulbs or more. Bulbs should be planted 6-8 inches deep and no more than 6 inches apart. Whether in a pot or in the ground, make sure to add bone meal to the soil. It is hardy from Hardiness Zones 4-9.
These four narcissus are enchanting garden plants, but they also are exceptional container plants. In containers, plant them densely. As stated earlier, three of the four narcissus can be forced in soil. Bulbocodium does not force well.
Try at least one of these for next spring. They are rare and enchanting and a great addition for any garden.
REMINDER ABOUT FORCING BULBS
If you are going to force bulbs in soil, then, for best results, place 4-8 bulbs in a 6 inch pot on top of 2 inches of soil, and cover the bulbs with soil leaving only the tips above the surface of the soil. Wrap the pot in a plastic bag and place the pot with the bulbs in the refrigerator for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks, remove the pot from the refrigerator, water, and place in a cool bright window. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged and the pot cool. The bulbs will bloom in about 4 weeks.
If you are going to force bulbs in water, you need to place the bulbs in the refrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER) for at least 12 weeks. When you remove the bulbs from the refrigerator, place them in a bulb vase or a bowl lined with pebbles. Add water to the base of the bulbs and place the vase/bowl in a cool, bright window. The bulb will produce blossoms in about 4 weeks. Only narcissus, hyacinths and crocus may be forced in water.
Don’t miss our Saturday, October 5, 2019 newsletter on Crocus.
Celebrate your uniquely American horticultural heritage
Harvest Your History
Seed Your Future
on orders $50 and above