Fred Bertram, one of our decorator/teacher trainers in furniture deco, took this beautiful sunrise shot on an early fall morning

Last week I wrote about my top tulip picks. This week, I give you my top Narcissi selections. I confess, in my bulb catalogs, usually the tulips come before the narcissi. Sometimes I find myself so worn out by all the decisions I have made in selecting the tulips that I give the narcissi short shrift. It is really unfair since narcissi work so much better for creating a predictable display. They are better perennializers, rarely asking for more than an occasional dividing; with attention to selecting varieties, it is possible to have six weeks of bloom; their foliage is very tolerable as it ripens, blending into the landscape; and, most importantly, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and voles do not eat them.
A simple glance at any bulb catalog or website provides a plethora of choices. Years ago, to help sort it all out, I bought the fantastic Daffodils for North American Gardens by Brent and Becky Heath. This book helped me venture beyond Trumpets and paperwhites. Here are a few of my favorites.

Large Cupped Audubon

The Large Cupped Narcissi Audubon is one of my favorites from hybridizer Grant Mitsch. This April bloomer is the what would typically be called a pink daffodil, a misnomer, as they are really coral.

Large Cupped Raspberry Ring

Another “pink” narcissi, Raspberry Ring in a fragrant April daffodil that graces many of the gardens. I have planted several hundred in the Rose Garden, where I decided to feature only pink hued narcissi

Double Tahiti

I do not always fancy double flowers but I have quite a fondness for Tahiti; it seldom “blasts,” a condition where the flower fails to open, and has stems strong enough to support the weight of the double flower. Tahiti is featured with the red and orange tulips of the Bus Stop Garden.

Jonquilla Beautiful Eyes

Beautiful Eyes is fragrant and blooms late April, early May. This beauty, bred by Brent Heath, has multiple flowers per stem.

Double Manly

Oh my gosh, I just love this one. I think I have planted it everwhere.

Poeticus Actaea

This photo shot in the Farmhouse Garden features one of my tulip picks, China Pink, with the heirloom narcissi Actaea. When I think of narcissi, this is the one that first comes to my mind

Jonquilla Dickcissel

Dickcissel is a sweet Jonquilla that reverses the usual dark cup with a light corona that is typical of most bi-color narcissi. Blooming in May, the cup gets even paler as the flower matures.

Jonquilla Sailboat

I do not plant many single variety narcissi in the White Garden since the garden came about as a result of planting 5000 bulbs in a naturalizing mix. I make exceptions for this graceful ivory colored cutie.

Large Cupped Suada

Suada is what bulb growers call sunproof; it is a strong April bloomer that provides weeks of bright blooms.

Cyclamineus Jetfire

I love this little early blooming cyclanineus narcissi. Because it blooms so early in the spring, I locate it at critical points in the gardens, like at the Shop sign, so that I can be sure our visitors see it.

This list, as with my Tulip list, is a combination of the narcissi that strike my fancy today and, sadly, what I have pictures of. I am sure next spring I will have a new “Oh, that is my favorite” on a daily basis. As with tulips, my favorite go to sources are here and here. I also pick up a few here and here– they tend to carry the more unusual varieties.

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2 Responses to My Top Narcissi Picks 2012

  1. Sarah says:

    Double Manly are gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what is blooming in your garden this spring.

    • Mariann says:

      Thank you Sarah, it is one of my favorites. I have to locate them wisely. Too little sun and they are in danger of floppy!

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