Welcome to the second of Paul’s Gardening posts and you will discover that not only is Paul Andruss is an exceptional writer, he also has a very great knowledge of plants.
This week Spring Bulbs – Part Two – Daffodils, Narcissus, Jonquils.
Pre-Raphaelite J Waterhouse’s Echo & Narcissus, in Liverpool Art Gallery I would often see it as a kid (Google Art Project)
In mythology Narcissus was a beautiful Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Unable to tear himself away he eventually withered away, or committed suicide, becoming a flower which hangs its head over streams to that it can contemplate its own beauty.
There are various ideas about which narcissus flower the boy became and no agreement. Indeed it might not have been the flower we call narcissus at all. No one knows.
Narcissus poeticus (Wikipedia)
Some claim it is one of the wild narcissi found around the Mediterranean. Most popularly the flower is thought to be Narcissus Poeticus. The name narcissus is Greek related to narcotic. In an enclosed room the scent from Poeticus is strong enough to induce headaches and vomiting.
Narcissi Jonquil (RHS.Org)
Jonquils are also highly perfumed. The essential oil has been used in perfumery for hundreds of years and is still used today.
Narcissi have been cultivated since ancient Greece and were possibly brought to Europe during the Crusades. In the 1550s narcissi cultivers were grown commercially in Holland; especially double daffodils and narcissi, grown from Narcissus Tazetta.
The name daffodil is a corruption of another Mediterranean plant Asphodel which was believed to be a lily. Since early times narcissus were called affodels.
Asphodelus Ramosus grew wild in spring in Turkey (Wikipedia)
In the 1500s daffofils went by the name daffadown dilly or daffydowndilly as well as the Lent Lily. Shakespeare mentions wild daffodils growing in England, hinting at a long history of cultivation in the country that had allowed them to naturalise.
Although daffodils are the national flower of Wales, they are not that keen on the damp climate and were quite hard to grow there. Despite the myth of Narcissus and his reflection, they originally tended to grow on rocky hillsides.
Traditionally narcissi were used as cures for cancer and dysentery, as emetics, to relieve aching joints and even as cures for baldness and as aphrodisiacs. Today they have been found to contain anti-viral and bacterial properties and most fascinating at all galantamine used to combat Alzheimer’s.
Daffodils will take you from early spring with small species such as February Gold all the way through to late April with the double and scented varieties. New varieties are being introduced every year. There are far too many to illustrate.
Some narcissus cultivars (wikipedia)
Daffodils and narcissi like to be planted deep, around 3 times the height of the bulb. Failing to plant them deep enough prevents them flowering. However they can right themselves if planted upside down, and over time will drag themselves down to the right flowering depth, although it might take a number of years.
People often plant narcissi in a lawn, then want to mow the lawn after the bulbs have finished flowering but are still growing. Cutting down the leaves at this stage saps their strength and they will stop flowering and they eventually die out. After flowering you should take off the old daffodil heads to stop seed developing as this leads to more bulbs and larger clumps. Finally never cut off or tie up the untidy leaves after flowering. It is far better to let them die off naturally to keep the plants healthy. This was they will multiply quickly.
©Paul Andruss 2018
About Paul Andruss.
Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.
Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen
When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.
Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.
The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.
The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC
When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.
The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.
Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.
Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic
Find out more and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY
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My thanks again to Paul for another informative post to help us fill our gardens with colour. If you have any questions for Paul on gardening, please put in the comments.. thanks Sally