The Race to be First

Early flowers are always welcome, the precursors to spring that try to banish winter with their early promise. I have three different daffodils that vye to be the first into bloom, a race against the horticultural clock.

Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ was the winner for several years. I have knoon this to be in flower for Christmas although it is usually the first half of January before the first bud opens on stems about ten inches high. It is claimed by some that the grubs of narcissus fly are particularly fond of the bulbs of this variety, although planting it in shade helps to reduce the risk.

Narcissus 'Cedric Morris' - 2017

Much taller, at  fifteen inches, is narcissus ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’.  This is a tazetta type with several, sweetly-scented flowers emerging from a single bulb; plant at least half a dozen for a sumptuous early display. This needs a sheltered sunny spot and is usually in flower during the first half of January.

Narcissus 'Grand Soleil d'Or' - 2017But the winner, this year, and usually the first over the past few years, is ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’. This looks just like you expect a daffodil to look, but in miniature, with yellow petals and an orange cup, held on one foot tall stems. This winter, it opened on New Year’s Eve, but twelve months ago, it was precociously flowering by mid November!

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' - 2018

So Rijnveld won the race again this year, with Cedric looking like the runner-up. Who wins your race among the narcissus?

 

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