Prices rule higher since Mr. Robert Sydenham made this calculation. After giving the fascinating note that the famous Horsfieldii Daffodil was originally found in a Lancashire weaver's garden, he added:
'The best way to grow Narcissi seedlings is to sow the seeds about half an inch apart each way in small square boxes or pans, from 6 to 12 inches square and about 6 inches deep. Keep them just moist, and shaded from hot sun. They will not want shifting for the first two years, and should be placed in a cold frame the first winter or two, otherwise many, and most likely the best, will be killed by frost. After the second year they should be planted early in August, in well-prepared beds, 5 inches apart, and there remain until they flower.'
All the hardy Narcissi, including Daffodils, may be naturalized in turf, or planted, and then sown between with grass seed of the fine types. Each hole for a bulb should be made of requisite depth, prodded beneath to loosen the foundation earth, and a little coarse sand thrown in on which to set the bulb. A covering in is done with good compost, free from the least recognizable manure, then the turf can be lightly relaid all but over the place where the bulb growth will first pierce.
As bulb foliage always has to yellow and die down, no mower must remove the leaves until they are ready to crumble of their own accord. Either hand shears must be used among the Narcissi, or the grass allowed to be wild for a time.
Pure white, fine for forcing.
Yellow, with orange cup. Forces capitally.
Double white. Another good variety for forcing.
White, with citron cup.
White, with orange cup.
Apricot-gold and yellow.
White, with very pale lemon cup.
These can all be grown as though they were Oriental Hyacinths, so Chapter II (Hyacinths) should be consulted for details. But potting can be begun as early as August, which should result in November bloom. Few gardens can boast of beds, or long border lines of these Bunch Narcissi, yet they flourish in all but the coldest places, and it is easy to protect them a trifle by laying a little straw, or bracken fern, lightly among them as the growth begins. They will die off if there is rank manure in the soil. As they flower in March and April naturally, rock-cresses (Aubrietias) are their best carpets or edgings, offering shades of blue-lavender, deep purple, crimson, heliotrope, pale rose, etc., etc.
There are many other varieties of Polyanthus Narcissi, but those recommended are representative of the colourings.
In considering other species of Narcissus, including the single and double Trumpet Daffodils, we may reckon that small bulbs should be covered with soil, out of doors, to a depth of 3 inches, larger ones to a depth of 4 inches, and still bigger ones to a depth of 5 inches. These directions apply, of course, to bulbs that are large or little according to nature, not according to age. And in gardens of very sandy or gravelly soil slightly deeper planting is often advisable.
Juvenile bulbs, either cheap youngsters sent out on purpose, or offset bulbs from the home collection, can be planted as deep as full-grown ones of their race would be, however, without injury, and left undisturbed in borders, or banks, to attain maturity. But they must not be expected to flower until then.
Bulbs should be only just soil-covered when potted, or the pointed 'noses' may just show: this being one way in which the culture differs from that of the Hyacinth. Culture in bowls may be identical for the two bulbous plants. Trumpet Daffodils that can be pot or bowl grown, either slowly or gently forced, include these.
The old English Daffodil.
The Tenby Daffodil.
Deep gold. Large.
Sulphur yellow and pale lemon.
Primrose and yellow. Fine.
White and yellow.
Two shades of gold.
White and lemon.
White and large.
White and cream. Erect grower.
Double yellow. Van Sion. A finer double yellow.
Sulphur and white.
Orange and yellow.
New variety. Nearly white.
Pale and deep gold.
When these have been dealt with, in sending an order to a bulb merchant, let the lovely Star-shaped 'Stella,' or Chalice-cupped Daffodils be chosen among. The scientific, or 'advance' title is Narcissus Leedsii, and there are now great numbers of varieties. As we all know, the 'Stella' Narcissi in our mixed borders are often in bloom even before the single Daffodils; they can be gently forced, too.
The good old free bloomer.
An improved kind.
Ivory, orange, red edged, but about two shillings a bulb.
White and orange-red.
Primrose and gold.
White, with orange-vermilion cup.
Gold and orange.
White, lemon, orange tinted.
White and deep gold.
Deep yellow, and red.
Of these the Duchess of Westminster, and the old form of Stella, are, I consider, the best for the amateur gardener to try to force a little.
Other very beautiful Short-cupped or Star Narcissi are: -
Primrose and orange.
Lemon and apricot.
Creamy-white and red.
White with yellow cup.
White, lemon, and orange-scarlet.
White and lemon. Beautiful but expensive.
Of course, it ought to be always recollected that hand-lights, or cloches, dropped over patches of Daffodils and other Narcissi, in beds and borders, will hasten the opening of their buds out of doors.
We have arrived now at the popular Pheasant's Eye, or Poet's Narcissus, possibly to discover, with surprise, that our clever florists have done wonders with it. But, first, let us realize that we must never try to force the double kind, and shall probably come to grief with any attempt with the single.
However, while reserving Narcissus poeticus, and Narcissus alba plena odorata, for beautifying the pleasure grounds, we may make use of Poeticus ornatus pretty much as we like. It is white, sweet-scented, and has a dainty scarlet edging to its cup. There are 'improved' varieties now - but the man or woman must be very captious who desires this exquisite Narcissus to possess daughters fairer than herself.
Blending Narcissi bulbs with Hyacinth and Tulip bulbs (mid-season Tulips answer best) is a means of gaining noteworthy beds, and tub or pot ornaments.
Daffodils and Clipped Shrub, in tub.