Saturday, November 18, 2006

NOW What?

Gardening is always a crap shoot in Iowa, but when your given a little garden treasure from somebody else, it's doubly so. Brigitta of Arrowhead Alpines, sent me a gift of Narcissus fernandesii, a small species daffodil. Native to Spain and Portugal, it's a darling little yellow daffy with a strong scent. I planted it in a raised rock garden, where it would get good drainage, so after it died back in the summer I had high hopes it would return for me, which its done... but in November?? It's obviously multiplied nicely, looking like a little patch of long grass. Now, it's not unusual for daffodils to stick their green noses up above ground before spring, and usually no harm is done, but this daffodil is fully sprouted, with delicate-looking foliage. Do I dig it up and pot it for the greenhouse, or leave it be and hope for the best? Posted by Picasa

I say ask Brigitta.
Brigitta was smart enough to grow it in a pot in a nice big cool greenhouse, and not plant it out in a field in Iowa in the first place. By the by, Kathy, a while back you were asking about info. on bulbs (Specifically it was on a post on snowdrops), and I forgot to mention one of the most interesting sources; the message board for the Pacific Bulb Society. Of course a lot of it pertains to South African bulbs we can only drool over, but there is tons of stuff about all kinds of bulbs... you can scroll through it for hours, and learn a lot about bulbs.
I'd say that if you want it to live in that spot, just leave it. If it makes it through an Iowa winter, it has earned its place in the garden.
Some gardeners may not be familiar with Arrowhead but it's quite an outfit. They are in Michigan and online at When I receive the catalog I turn right to the front welcoming page which is always worth several chuckles and some fine opinions. The website has a PDF of the 2006 catalog. This year's greeting was titled "The End of Civilization As We Know It". Try it!

George Africa
Lots of our daffodils leaf out and even set flower buds in early winter. I can't say I was pleased to find damaged blooms in spring but the plants sent out enough new buds to make it not very noticeable. But these are just common variety daffs.

I would think a species daff would be pretty tough so I would be inclined to leave it where it seems to be growing happily.

Now the question is why do the Brits call them jonquils.
Peggy... I'm gonna do that; it will make it or not (it won't be like it's the very first plant I've ever lost).

George... A lot of folks are rubbed the wrong way by Bob of AA, but he's always been a sweetheart to me (I would never tell him that, though). He does make fun of my handwriting, though.

Ki...I know, I know; jonquilla is the genus name for daffodils,derived from the latin word juncus, which means a reed, since many daffys have reed-like leaves. Now the word jonquil usually refers specifically to those daffodils with the roundest, most reed-like leaves, but the brits do tend to call all daffys jonquils, which is really no more right or wrong than the other way, though some say "All jonquils are daffodils, but not all daffodils are jonquils".
I also vote to just leave it where it is. Or, if there is an easy way to do it, you could split the difference, and put a small pot of inside, and leave some outside, and see what happens in the spring.
Carol... I did actually muse about splitting it, but it's in a fairly tight clump, so I didn't want to try it when it's in full foliage. I figure I've had less likely plants survive here, so we'll just see what spring brings.
Thanks for the explantion on why Brits call daffodils jonquils ;)
Ki... you're welcome; however I should have spelled the genus Jonquila, not Jonquilla. I tried typing it with one and two "l's" and it didn't look right either way.
"jonquilla is the genus name for daffodils" Huh? I thought Narcissus was the genus name for daffodils. Is there more than one genus for daffodils? Isn't jonquil a division?
Kathy... you're right. Jonquila is a genus within the family natcissus, which better explains "All jonquils are narcissus, but not all narcissus are joquils."
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