At times gardening is best done indoors!
The morning was dry so we took advantage to get in a walk. We are confined so often these days that the opportunity for some outdoor activity is to be grasped whenever possible. This afternoon’s weather was not suitable for gardening but I compensated by bringing a few flowers indoors and photographing them. I had intentions of bringing in more but my collecting was cut short by a heavy downpour.
There were four daffodils, three hellebores and a chionodoxa:
is a model of neatness and tidiness but, though it might seem a sine qua non for a flower to be called a daffodil, it does not have a trumpet but instead a neat arrangement of the six outer segments neatly arranged one layer exactly on top of the previous to give six layers each reducing in size so as to produce a beautiful star-shaped flower. The flowers are a lighter colour than the usual daffodil yellow, more a creamy yellow which is very beautiful. It was grown by the Bishop of Eichstatt in 1611 and his garden “Hortus Eystettensis” is recalled in the name. It is also known as “Queen Anne’s Double Daffodil” (Queen Anne of Austria) and it was suggested by E. A. Bowles that it was a hybrid between ‘Telemonius Plenus’ and Narcissus triandrus. Narcissus ‘Eystettensis’
is a naturally occurring hybrid between Narcissus jonquilla and Narcissus tazetta (or N. papyraceus) and grows wild in the south of France, north of Spain, the Belearic Islands and in Italy. I grew it from seed received from the Alpine Garden Society some years ago and have always enjoyed its appearance each March. The stem carries from three to eight flowers, each with a noticeably small trumpet (corona). Bringing one into the house to photograph it revealed what a delicious fragrance, something I have never noticed in the garden. Narcissus x intermedius
is native to north-west Portugal and north-west Spain with the common name of the cyclamen-flowered daffodil because the outer segments are fully folded backwards in a fashion similar to that of the cyclamen flower. This shape is quite distinctive and the species has been widely used in the breeding of daffodil cultivars for example, ‘Tete a Tete’, ‘February Gold’ and ‘Jack Snipe’ though none of these has the outer segments reflexed quite so dramatically. It flowers earlier in the year than most daffodils, as early as mid-February. Narcissus cyclamineus
: The name tells us where this daffodil grows in the wild – the province of Asturia in Spain though it is also found in the mountains of northern Portugal. The wild population is under threat so it is a comfort that it grows well in our gardens. It comes into flower here as early as late January. It is a small plant, under 10cm tall and the trumpet is noticeably frilled at its opening. Narcissus asturiensis
: When we first began growing these hellebores, they were called Helleborus x hybridus Helleborus orientalis but there has been a name-change in the meantime. Our first planting was a most generous plant as, under its own steam, it became parent of many, many offspring which helped fill our young garden very cheaply. By nature, the flowers are inclined to hang downwards but recent breeding has produced plants with upward-facing flowers. The earlier cultivars generally had single plain purple or white flowers but nowadays there they come with many different patterns, forms and colours. All make good garden plants.
The flowers of have strikingly contrasting colours, a clear and strong blue surrounding a white centre. It is a native of west Turkey, flowers in March and shortly afterwards becomes dormant until the following year. It was named for Lucile, wife of Pierre Edmond Boissier, a Swiss botanist. As it is such a small thing and likely to be lost in the open garden, I grow it in an alpine trough, an old Belfast sink. Chionodoxa luciliae