H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Narcissus Minor - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Narcissus Minor Described.
Narcissus Minor - Smaller Daffodil; Nat. Ord. Amaryllidaceæ.
A very beautiful and effective spring flower. Though a native of Spain, it proves one of the hardiest denizens of our gardens; it is not often met with, but it has been cultivated in this country since 1629. It was well known in Parkinson's time. Not merely is it a species due to bloom early, but it does so, no matter how severe the weather may be, in March, and the flowers are freely produced. We could hardly have more severe weather than we had in March, 1883, when the snow was sometimes several inches deep and the frost as much as 17deg. to 23deg. Still this little Daffodil continued to push up its golden blossoms, so that in the latter half of the month, it formed one of the most pleasing of the hardy flowers of the spring garden. Its blue-green leaves are densely grown, and being only 4in. high and somewhat rigid, they not only form a rich setting for the bright blossom which scarcely tops them, but they support the flowers, which have a drooping habit. Later on, however, they lift their fair faces and look out sideways, but whether seen in profile or otherwise, they are alike charming.
I do not remember ever to have seen or heard this flower described as finely scented; as a matter of fact, it is deliciously so. The odour is aromatic and mace-like. If the bloom is cut when in its prime and quite dry, a few heads will scent a fair-sized room. Of course, all the species of the genus (as implied by the generic name) exhale an odour, and some kinds a very fragrant one, whilst others are said to be injurious; but the spicy smell of this can scarcely be otherwise than acceptable, and it must always be a desirable feature in a flower suitable for cutting, and more especially in a winter and spring flower. From its dwarfness this Daffodil is very liable to be soiled; either of three plans may be adopted to prevent this: Plant on grass; top-dress in January with longish litter, which by the blooming time will have a washed and not very objectionable appearance; or, lastly, let the patches grow broad and thick, when their own foliage will keep down the mud, excepting at the sides. I find the litter method to answer well for scores of things for a similar purpose.
Flowers are produced on slender scapes, 3in. to 4in. long, singly, from the long membranous spatha; they are 1¼in. across the expanded perianth, and about the same length; the six divisions are rather longer than the tube, and of a pale yellow or lemon colour; the crown or nectary is campanulate, longer than the petal-like divisions, lobed, fringed, and of a deep yellow colour. The leaves are strap-shaped, stout and glaucous, and about the same length as the scapes.
This plant is in no way particular as to soil, provided it is well drained. It enjoys, however, partial shade and liberal top-dressings of manure. It increases fast by offsets, and, if desirable, the bulbs may be lifted the third year for division, after the tops have died off in late summer.
Flowering period, March and April.
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