November 9, 2013

ENJOYING AUTUMNAL NARCISSUS


We may rarely associate of narcissus blooming in autumn, but in some parts of the world, they are a common site. Narcissus serotinus in just one of the autumnal species native to the Mediterranean area, it's a tiny, fragrant generally single blooming species which collectors treasure, often in the smallest of pots, where they seem to grow best.


One of these years, I am going to take the time to visit the narcissus growing parts of the Mediterranean, but not in the spring, when most narcissus, or what we might call daffodils, bloom, but instead, in the autumn, when some of the rarer, small species bloom.  I know, narcissus in the fall? Well, when you start thinking about it, there are some narcissus that bloom for us in the late autumn, such as the Tazetta type, what you might know as the Paperwhite narcissus. I keep two autumnal species in my collection, but in many ways, this tiny jewel is my favorite. It's blossom is barely the size of a dime.


Those who call the Mediterranean home, or who are natives to the area know the treasure that I am sharing with you today. You may know it as the wild bulb that lines the village roads in November by the thousands, the annual gem known as Narcissus de Tarda in Portugal, or Narciso de otoño in Spain or Nacissus autunnale if you are from southern Spain, but to those of us who collect rare or unusual bulbs, we know it as Narcissus serotinus - typically the first narcissus to bloom in our collections, if not one of the smallest.



Narcissus serotinus is a minute, autumn blooming narcissus widespread throughout the Mediterranean area, which includes southern Portugal and Spain, Italy, Southern Turkey but that extends into Israel, parts of the middle East and North Africa. My lone flower is sad, as it survives, hardy enough in my cool greenhouse which offers it exactly the conditions it requires - hot, dry summers, and cool, damp winters, never freezing. Out side of it growing area, it remains a bulb rarely seen, as few growers can offer it what it demands ( mainly the hot, dry summer). A greenhouse makes that rather easy, as I can forget about the pot, as it bakes in the sun under glass.

I only have one bulb, which I suspect keeps me from having any success in the plant setting any seed. I  am certain that I have said this in previous years (as I have kept, and blossomed this bulb for nearly ten years), but I really need to invest in a few friends for lonely bulb, maybe then it will produce fertile seed). As I've said before, narcissus are quite easy to grow from seed, as the seeds are large, like onion seed, and germinate quickly, forming blooming side bulbs in just 3 or 4 years. With bulbs selling for nearly $50 each ( if one can find them), seed makes more sense. But that, I save for another day.

Until then, I cherish my tiniest of daffodils, not just because it is rare and unusual, but because it blooms in the fall. How great is that?


AS THE GREENHOUSE BEGINS IT WINTER GROWING SEASON, LEMONS RIPEN IN LARGE POTS.
MEYER LEMONS ARE THE FIRST, WHICH WILL PROVIDE ENOUGH LEMONS FOR MANY CUPS OF TEA
AND MARMALADE THAT WILL LAST ALL WINTER LONG.
A WEEK LATE FOR HALLOWEEN, THE SOUTH AFRICAN CYRTANTHUS MAKENII 'HOBGOBLIN' BLOOMS IN ITS FAVORITE LOCATION , CLOSE THE GLASS WHERE IT SEEMS TO LIKE THE COOLER TEMPERATURES. 

4 comments :

  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    matt, i really enjoy your blog. hot and dry is all i have here in texas. do you know a source for the seeds?also would you do a post on best tasting varieties of different vegetables? you have inspired me to get out of my rut and try something new. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for another great post. Inspiring. I'm greenhouse free (I hope to rectify that in the future) but I do lug my Meyer's in every season. One is so covered in blossoms right now it's perfuming the entire house. Such a joy. Hoping for a fabulous crop as well.

    Thanks again!

    Caroline
    extravagantgardens.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your blog is amazing. I loved it. Especially the pot with bunch of lemons,its looking gorgeous and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Isn't that just the most precious thing? Okay, not I simply must have some citrus trees. How will I fit them in that greenhouse?? :D

    ReplyDelete

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