Virginia Barton

23 February 2015: A lot of them about

23 February 2015: A lot of them about

 

23 February 2015

 narcissus-pseudonarcissus-ssp-obvallaris-09-img_0737

 

N. pseudonarcissus is a small trumpet daffodil up to 35cm in height, with usually glaucous foliage and flowers 4-6cm in width, with deep yellow trumpet and pale yellow perianth segments.

That is how the Royal Horticultural Society describes the Lent Lily or wild daffodil.

The ones on my window sill are larger, and butter yellow, and really strongly scented. They will have come from either Lincolnshire or Cornwall and are dirt cheap. Even if you buy them in tight bud, tightly wrapped in their brown papery sheaths, they will open wide and overwhelm you.

 

Seriously now, have you ever met anyone who said:

“I hate daffodils”?

And you look out at the stair rods of rain, and a gale to whip the catkins off any willow silly enough to have pushed them out, and you hope it surely can’t be long now.

 

winter_aconite

Spring is late this year and the forecast shows no sign of it yet, despite a mass of snowdrops, plenty of nascent crocus, and a few paltry aconites.

What IS it about aconites? I must have planted hundreds and stubbornly keep on trying — yesterday I counted seven blooms. They flourished on the cesspit when I was a girl, a complete carpet of them.

The willows have turned from black to tawny red, hinting at the green below, and poor old BH complains that his bones are aching, a sure sign of more stair rods. I nearly bought a weepy willow in a pot the other day, and got as far as a long and interesting correspondence with a plantsman in Yorkshire. But the tree turned out to be at least a foot taller than me. Eyes larger than stomach – again.

 

Here’s snatch of a cheery poem by Herrick:

Fled are the frosts, and now the fields appear
Reclothed in fresh and verdant diaper;
Thaw’d are the snows; and now the lusty Spring
Gives to each mead a neat enamelling….

 

No, it surely can’t be long now.

 

 

Comments

4 Comments

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  • Jack L says on: February 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

     

    What we wouldn’t do on this side of the Pond to see a snowdrop, crocus, or aconite! The snow cover is simply too deep, and more is on the way.

    One week to go until St. David’s Day but we will have to rely on store-bought daffodils.

    Here’s a question for you: what’s the difference between a daffodil and a narcissus? Or are they the same? (I’m gardening-challenged…)

    • Ginny says on: February 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

       

      Narcissus is the genus for the daffodil, I believe, Jack — hence pseudonarcissus is the Wild Daffodil and narcissus poeticus the Poet’s Daffodil (Actaea) or Pheasant’s Eye. There is a neat scientific way of saying all that but it’s beyond me. Someone put me right please. Ginny

  • Coal-Filled Wellies says on: February 24, 2015 at 5:34 am

     

    At school I remember learning “March brings winds, loud and shrill, April brings the daf – oh – dil”. I suppose everything’s quicker now!

    • Ginny says on: February 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

       

      Oh Wellies! Did you ever see Flanders and Swann in At the Drop of a Hat? Your verse brought to mind their brilliant parody of that poem called “The Garden Year” by Sara Coleridge. Flanders and Swann’s version was called “The Weather Song” — DO look it up on YouTube if you’ve never heard it, hilarious! Ginny

      (ps Thanks to the magic internet I see that Sara Coleridge was the only daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and a woman of some erudition.)

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