Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 4
   August 2009

Today, there are more than 25,000 daffodil cultivars registered with Great Britain's Royal Horticultural Society. So, if the only daffodil you know is the familiar big yellow trumpet, you're missing out on a whole world of choices.

In addition to all shades of yellow, daffodils come in white, cream, orange, pink and bicolors. There are singles, doubles and varieties with several blooms to a stalk. Some are scented. Some have big trumpets, others tiny cups. Yet others have split or "butterfly" cups. There are tall types and miniature varieties. Those who get excited by such things will be interested to know that daffodils have been classified into thirteen divisions based on these characteristics.

The upshot is that gardeners in temperate zones can enjoy a vast choice of daffodils for about two months a year. (Those in extremely warm zones will have more success with cultivars from the Jonquilla and Tazetta divisions, while those in very cold zones will have the best chances with the hardiest cultivars that are well sited and mulched.)

Narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête' shown in foreground.   Narcissus 'Ice Follies'.
(Narcissus) 'Tête-à-Tête' shown in foreground.   (Narcissus) 'Ice Follies'.

In my garden, the season kicks off with a miniature—I suspect 'Tête-à-Tête'—that was a mid-winter grocery store purchased pot I saved and planted the following fall. It's quickly followed by 'Ice Follies', which has white petals and soft yellow cups that fade to white as it matures. Other early bloomers include 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation', which is a large trumpeted type, and 'February Gold', which does indeed bloom in February in some areas, but certainly not mine.

Mid-season in my garden opens with the familiar yellow 'Dutch Master', followed by what I think is 'Mount Hood'. After that comes the orangey 'Ambergate' and the salmon-trumpeted 'Salome.'

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