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Graham Rice on Trials

Updates on trials and awards from the Royal Horticultural Society by Graham Rice

Daffodils on trial at Wisley

Posted by Graham Rice on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:30 AM

In my last post I looked at the display of daffodils which already have the Award of Garden Merit. But there are also some superb plants in the Wisley trial itself. Planted last autumn, this is their first year in flower.

The first one I noticed was ‘Rip van Winkle’. This a very old double flowered daffodil whose flower is made up of a mass of slender petals. The problem is – the heads are too heavy for the stems. The stems arch over so the flowers almost touch the ground. In soil that was less rich the stems may be shorter and less weak but they did not look tempting.Narcissus 'Stann Creek',daffodil,AGM Image: ©GardenPhotos.com. Do not reproduce in any way without permission.

But the ones I especially liked were ‘Stann Creek’ and ‘Saint Victor’, not least because in their first year they both produced two flowers from each bulb.

‘Stann Creek’ (above, click to enlarge) is both stylish and dramatic. This lemon-and-lime variety has very large flowers, in the traditional trumpet style but in a very unusual and effective colouring. Most of the trumpet and the base of the petals is white, the tip of the trumpet and much of the petal colouring is lemon-and-lime yellow. There were one or two off-types in the planting but the overall effect was delightful.

The other one I especially liked was ‘Saint Victor’ (below, click to  enlarge). This is a traditional yellow daffodil, so what makes this more impressive than good old ‘Golden Harvest’? First of all the flowers are enormous, and they’re held on stout stems so the Narcissus 'Saint Victor',daffodil,AGM Image: ©GardenPhotos.com. Do not reproduce in any way without permission.stems don’t collapse under their weight. Secondly the deep yellow flowers are a wonderful rich colour with the flared trumpet slightly darker than the petals. Finally, the flowers face outward so we get the best of the display.

The display of these candidates for the Award of Garden Merit continues on the trials field at Wisley through this lovely sunny weather so make the most of them and note those that would look good in your own garden. There’s nothing to compare with seeing so many all growing side by side.

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