This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Apart from the kinds grown for market under the name of "Daffodils" (see p. 26), there are several species, varieties, and hybrids now in commerce, some of them exquisite in shape and colour, and varying in price from a few pence per dozen to several pounds per bulb. The common Poet's Narcissus (N. poeticus), and its variety ornatus, are grown in hundreds of thousands, in the market gardens of Middlesex, Evesham, and other places, beneath fruit trees. They are planted in beds 4-5 ft. wide in rows about 6 in. apart, so that something like a quarter of a million bulbs go to an acre of ground, allowing for pathways, etc. Where the soil is well cultivated and drained, the bulbs live for many years without lifting, and they increase in number at a steady rate. In some places, however, there is a tendency to die out with disease, probably brought about by soil sickness induced by allowing the bulbs to remain for too many years in the same place without lifting. If the flowers happen to come in just at Eastertime a very fair profit may result from the sale of the crop; but if a fortnight sooner or later than Easter the flowers may be a drug on the market, and realize less than 2d. per dozen bunches of twelve flowers. Under fairly good conditions from 40,000 to 50,000 bunches may be reckoned to the acre, and the gross receipts may be anything from £25 to £80. The cost of picking, bunching, packing, and marketing will come to about £15 or £20 per acre, whether the prices realized are good or bad, so that the net profits are difficult to gauge. Taking the average, however, the Poet's or Pheasant's Eye Narcissus may be regarded as a fairly good' catch crop on land that is chiefly engaged in producing fruit. When the newer and finer varieties become more reasonable in price it may be worth the market grower's while to plant some of them on a larger scale. The true poeticus flowers about a month later than its variety ornatus. For special kinds and varieties the reader should consult current bulb catalogues.
PICKING NARCISSUS IN BUD IN THE SCILLY ISLES The buds to be opened under glass.
POET'S NARCISSUS GROWN BETWEEN FRUIT TREES IN MR. ROCHESTER'S GARDENS.
AT HESTON, MIDDLESEX.
Photos. Chas. L. Clarke.
SOME MARKET DAFFODILS.
1. Horsfieldi 2. Sir Watkin. 3. Emperor. 4. Maximus.