Garden Diary - April 2012

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Monday, 23 April 2012
Holland in Tulip Time: Up and Coming Daffodils - A Visit to Mr. Leenen's Nursery

A new narcissus (or any plant) worthy of naming doesn't just appear like magic. Even something that looks terrific the first time it flowers may not be worth keeping in the long run. Do the leaves grow taller than the flower stem? Do the buds on a double blast if the weather turns warm? Does the flower color bleach in sunlight? Is it better than what's already out there? No wonder Mr. Leenen mentioned to me that it took 15 years from making the cross to naming 'Ecolady' - he wants to be sure that it is worthy of a name before "going public." So I was quite eager when I was invited to go to his nursery and see some of the crosses he was trialing.

In the warehouse I listen attentively to what he has to say. Love the daffodils painted on his tie.

Off we go, hand in hand, to the screen house where the daffodils are flowering.

Oh my!

Graciously, Mr. Leenen allowed my to take photographs, even listened to my comments.

Lovely flower but the stems are just that little bit too short.

Huge cup with a wide, flaring, ruffled, lemon ice edge to it.

Admittedly, my preference is not for double flowers. In the garden they become heavy when it rains and flop to the ground unless staked.

But I thought that some of these would be wonderful as cut flowers, creating lavish bouquets

Then I was smitten, fell absolutely in love.

Mr. Leenen is working with crosses that involve Narcissus viridiflora. The cool yellow petals,

distinctive, widely flared short green cup, and ruffled orange edge

very much appeal to me. I just hope it won't be a decade until they come on the market.

Comment: It's exciting to peer behind the curtain, so to speak, and have a backstage glimpse into the world of daffodil breeding.

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