Narcissus tendencies

Amidst the wide array of flowering bulbs currently announcing spring's arrival, the daffodil offers a huge diversity of forms and sizes, as well as being one of the easiest bulbs to cultivate. Bearing this in mind, we feel that Narcissus is a genus that has significant, underexplored potential for landscape design, and the possibilities associated with the genus have been a focus of some of our recent design work.

Our favourite varieties are those that exhibit characteristics that are closest to the species, such as the charming dwarf variety pictured above, Narcissus 'Mite', which is derived primarily from Narcissus cyclamineus. The natural species themselves are also fine subjects for gardens, as in the case of the hoop petticoat daffodil (N. bulbocodium) which featured in the previous journal entry.

At our office, we primarily have compact varieties of Narcissus in bloom at present, including the variety shown above (with subtly different tones of cream and yellow) called N. 'Pipit'. On a more conspicuously vibrant note, the cultivar pictured below, Narcissus 'Tete-a-tete' is one of the more frequently planted dwarf varieties of Narcissus. In recent design work, we have specified a New Zealand-bred variety with a similar character to 'Tete-a-tete' (although possessing flowers with a softer yellow hue), called N. 'Hawera'.

The last flower in this journal entry is not actually a daffodil, but rather a particularly charming species of Freesia that is in flower amongst the dwarf Narcissus at present. Freesia fergusoniae (shown below) has particularly bright orange markings on the lower petals, and produces a more complex fragrance than the other freesias that are currently providing large quantities of cut flowers to fill the office with scent.

Due to the fact that my mother has always cultivated the highly-scented, New Zealand-bred variety, Freesia 'Burtonii', it is simply not spring for me without a rotating supply of freesias to bring into the house. Accordingly, we have four different forms of freesia outside the office, all coming in to bloom over the coming weeks.

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