I would never have dreamed of writing an article about the simple daffodil – such a common place flower that needs no introduction, but when I saw the display in the featured photo, I decided that it is definitely something to shout about. Say it with Flowers is obviously not just a commercial advertising slogan for Mothers Day but a powerful way to convey such an important message. I am sure the feedback of this floral advertising display will be phenomenal, and being for such a good cause I think it really is a good idea. It is on either side of the main road from the M56 into the centre of Manchester and it should last for at least 6 weeks, I suppose just as long as a paper advert on a billboard and although it must have taken hours to plan; it will recur every year! I had to find somewhere to park to take the photo and on a closer look I found the flowers to be Daffodil Tete-a- Tete, so let’s write about them in detail;
Botanical Name: Narcissus. Common Name: Daffodil Tete-a-Tete
Daffodil petals range from yellow to white and the cup part of the flower extend to pink and orange shades. With the daffodil being such a common flower, over the years it has evolved to included hundreds of cultivars with over complicated classifications. The National Daffodil Society has 12 different divisions of daffodils, depending on the size of the petals or the size of the cup. The daffodil flower also has its own vocabulary – although these names can be used for any flower they are particularly used in narcissus classification. The petals are usually called the perianth, whilst the trumpet – the cup shaped part is better known as the corona. They all have similar characteristics and are readily recognizable as a daffodil except maybe Narcissus Irene Copeland which is a fully double white variety from Division 4 that you could mistake for a peony.
Tete –a – Tete belongs to Division 12 which is the Miscellaneous class which ‘includes daffodils not in any other division’. It is interesting that they could not pair them with any other division but rules are rules! The tete a tete is vigorous and dwarf which explains why it lends itself well to mass planting as it will not be blown over with a March wind or an April shower, the petals are slightly reflexed and twisted. If you have tete a tete daffodils in your garden cut them whilst the buds are still closed and place them in a vase in your house, should a visitor ask you why you have such a common place flower on a gardener’s dining table start explaining to them the complexity of the type, and to which division this particular cultivar belongs – and that should keep them quiet!
If you do not have any in your garden, why not buy a few plant pots now in the bud, they cost around £1 a pot, and sink them in the soil,(without the pots), nobody need know that you did not plant them as a bulb! After flowering don’t cut the leaves for at least 6 weeks – let them die down naturally with a little helping of plant feed and they will come again every year.
But I now have a different idea – next year I would like to write ‘Boris’ in big letters on my lawn with Tete –a – Tete bulbs in the autumn and just imagine what it will look like next spring!!!
Good gardening ,
Boris Legarni .