Some allusion to these will be found under the head of Bulbs, but they are entitled to some special remarks. The narcissus, especially of the trumpet type, is now quite as important a forcing flower as the tulip. The narcissus can be broadly divided into the trumpet forms, the jonquils and the Tazetta or polyanthus narcissus. Besides many true species there are innumerable garden hybrids. Besides these there have been discovered some splendid species or varieties in old gardens of Europe, survivals of ancient gardens and of a day when great attention was given to these beautiful spring flowers.
The Paper White is known to all; it is our earliest forcing bulb. Neither bulb nor leaves should ever be exposed to frost. Can be flowered in early November. Many of the polyanthus type are beautiful, but are not in favor with flower buyers on account of their strong odor.
Narcissus poeticus is a very useful and pretty flower, but does not force well, that is, not as do our early tulips and trumpet narcissi. The well known daffodil, Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus, is found wild in most parts of temperate Europe, and is supposed to be entirely hardy in our northern states. It forces well, can be flowered finely with us by the middle of January. The single trumpets are, however, the favorites of the day, and many fine hybrids have been produced of late years and given to the trade at a moderate price. The single daffodil, or Trumpet major, was for years our best forcing trumpet narcissus, but that is far surpassed by Golden Spur, which we had in flower this year by January 20. It is deep yellow in all its parts.
Emperor, trumpet yellow, sepals pale yellow.
Empress, trumpet deep yellow, sepals white.
Bicolor Victoria; a splendid variety, and there are many other named varieties, but a few of the choicest are all you need.
Treatment for their forcing will be found under the head of Bulbs; the same conditions that suit tulips will be found proper for narcissi with a few slight exceptions. The polyanthus section must not be exposed to frost at any time. The jonquils will not force readily before March, but the trumpet section forces as easily as the early tulips. We have found in practice it was best to leave the tulips out of doors till the day you wanted to put them on the forcing bench. This, however, is different with the trumpet narcissus, particularly Von Sion. You can bring in a quantity of flats of these and put them under a cool bench, to be placed on your forcing bench at intervals as wanted. I must not fail to mention one of the finest of all narcissi, expensive but grand. It is Bicolor Victoria, pure white perianth with yellow trumpet, extra large.
To my surprise one of the leading narcissus growers of Holland informed me that in his experience the trumpet narcissi were not hardy as supposed. His assertion was: " The tulip is absolutely hardy, as hardy as the oak tree, but the Von Sion narcissus is not. I have known it to be killed by 12 degrees of frost." He certainly ought to know, but we should have said no amount of frost would hurt, but then again I could not be sure that we ever exposed the bulb or young growth to even that amount. Most likely we did not and I consider his caution worth remembering.