It’s been a hard and long winter with more snow than we’ve been used to in recent years, and many more frosts. With the majority of the country suffering with snow, ice and cold easterly winds, it’s hard to believe that it is early March and therefore, in theory, spring. Despite this, there are signs in the garden that spring is around the corner. The snowdrops and crocuses are a cheery reminder and a closer look at the trees and perennials shows leaf buds in waiting. Although they look like they are struggling at the moment, lurking from the cold under their horticultural fleece, the hardy annuals that were sown back in August are starting to move again, possibly fooled into growth by the warmth that the poly-tunnel provides. In the borders I can see signs of what will become the first flowers for sale from The Highland Flower Garden…Narcissus!
Narcissus was a hunter in Greek Mythology, who gazed in admiration at his own beautiful reflection in a pool until he wasted away and died; a punishment from Nemesis for the distain he had shown to others. There appears to be no connection to the genus of spring flowering bulbs and this myth and the origin of the name seems to be unknown. The genus is very large indeed and each year more cultivars are brought out.
The Highland Flower Garden is growing a number of Narcissus varieties this year and they will be the first flowers of the year with the Tulips, Anenomes and Rannunculus following on in April and May.
One variety that I am looking forward to is “Gernaium”. This is a multi-headed variety with a wonderful scent, something you don’t often get with a supermarket variety. Narcissus “Geranium” is white with an orange cup. The bulbs, planted in the autumn, were massive!
“Martinette” is also multi-headed and fragrant and is daffodil-yellow with an orange cup. ”Minnow” – as the name suggests, is a smaller dainty variety with pale yellow petals and a darker cup. Other varieties being grown include “Kinglet”, “Silver Chimes” and “Bellsong”. Can’t wait to see them…it’s been a long winter!