Narcissus: daffodil, daffadowndilly, jonquil, Lenten lily
Daffodils are synonymous with Easter. In England they are associated with Lent and occasionally referred to as Lenten lilies. Legend has it that the first daffodil bloomed on the night of The Last Supper in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Jesus in his hour of sorrow. Whether one is religious or not, there’s no question that daffodils symbolise rebirth, herald the arrival of spring and generally spread joy and hope wherever they grow. Hence I plant hundreds of them each autumn, yet always wish I had planted more.
Giving me enormous pleasure in my garden right now is a diminutive daffodil named N. ‘Elka’. She bears pearly white petals surrounding a lemon yellow trumpet on stems about 12″ tall. The trumpets fade gently as each flower matures, eventually becoming the same shade as the petals. A new daffodil variety, N. ‘Elka’ was named by Cornishman Alec Gray (also responsible for the ubiquitous N. ‘Tête à Tête’) after two lady daffodil growers called Elizabeth and Kate. They must be very proud of their namesake.
N. ‘Elka’ quickly earned an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society thanks to her hardiness, early flowering and weather resistance. Such low growing varieties are best suited to sinks, pots or the front of borders, so this year I’ve planted N. ‘Elka’ in a shallow bowl on our garden table to follow the deep purple blooms of Iris histrioides ‘George’ AGM, and keep me smiling until Tulip batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’ starts producing its luminous apricot flowers in a couple of weeks’ time. All three bulbs are hardy, charming and perfect for pot culture, flowering in close succession. Put them on your list for ordering in late summer. Avon Bulbs is a one-stop-shop for this cheery little trio.
Wishing You and Yours a Very Happy Easter. TFG.