Saturday, 22 February 2020

Daffodil stories

The first two kinds of daffodils in the garden are making a cheery sight just now, despite the incessant wind and rain. There will be more different kinds to come as spring accelerates, but there are nice stories behind these two very different ones.

Narcissus asturiensis - I call it the Clonteem daffodil
The first, and earliest for me, I call the Clonteem Daffodil, because that is what my mother always called it, and I got it from her. She in turn had got it from her mother, Fairy nee Devenish, whose girlhood home was Clonteem, Co. Roscommon. The house burnt down when she was a young woman. She had ridden her bicycle to another big house a few miles away to attend a ball and stay overnight, with her ball-gown wrapped up on the panier. When she got home she discovered her family in their night clothes looking at the smouldering ruins of Clonteem. She was the only one with proper clothes to wear. I have inherited a small mahogany desk from her which was taken from the burning house, but very little else was saved. Later on Fairy's parents lived not far away in Drumsna, Co. Leitrim, and I suspect her mother Kitty nee Russell brought the daffodil to her garden there, and gave her some bulbs after her marriage to my grandfather Jocelyn Waller to plant in her garden at Prior Park.

It is a true minature no more than 6 inches high with perfect yellow trumpet flowers, which I have been trying for years to identify. I now believe it is a true species from northern Spain called Narcissus asturiensis. I have no idea how it got to a garden in Co. Roscommon.

An old fashioned double daffodil - can anyone name it for me?
The second is an old fashioned double daffodil, widely grown in these parts, whose name I don't know. The buds are just bursting as I write, so the photo is of some I brought into the house a few days ago. I did not plant it - it came as a volunteer along with regular daffodils with topsoil brought in when we added an extension to the house. Like many double flowers it does not produce any seed, but it is as tough as old boots and has clumped up beautifully in grass on the edge of the drive. I must split some of the clumps later in the year and spread it around a bit.

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