Jonquils provide welcome colour and fragrant flowers when garden colour is scarce. They are a type of narcissus closely related to the daffodil. These are very hardy bulbs native to Eurasia and North Africa. Their name comes from the Latin “iuncus” meaning “rush”.
As the bulbs were carried with advancing civilization through France and Spain the Neo-Latin name became “jonquilla” meaning “a little rush”. Commonly it was then called the “junkwill”.
But this pronunciation was changed when the Englishman William Wordsworth altered it’s name to it’s present form to rhyme in one of his poems. In autumn they produce long, flat, hollow leaves followed by graceful stems of small, richly fragrant flowers from late autumn through early spring.
There are single and double forms in white, cream and yellow shades. Most of our modern garden jonquils originated from two species N. tazetta and N. jonquilla. This includes the popular Paperwhite Narcissus with delicate pure white blooms; Chinese Sacred Lily, a double butter and egg form; Soleil D’ Or in glorious sunny gold with orange cups.
Erlicheer has very fragrant double cream blooms on robust stems and Cheerfulness is a free flowering, creamy white variety quite popular in older Victorian cottage gardens. These last two flower very early. When planting jonquils choose a sunny or partly sunny site.
Most soils are acceptable provided they drain freely. Avoid heavy, wet clays or spots that would remain wet over the summer resting period. Bulbs will rot under these conditions. When planting in suspiciously wet positions add a handful of sand or gravel to the planting hole to insure better drainage.
Jonquils can be naturalised under deciduous trees and shrubs. They are highly effective when planted in clumps or large, sweeping masses. Try planting a few clumps in front of camellias. They will flower at the same time. The evergreen camellia foliage will highlight the delicate jonquil blooms while the camellia blooms will further enhance the breathtaking colour show.
Jonquils are the best choice for a frost-free garden. They are excellent in containers and can be easily forced into winter and spring flower. Varieties like the Paper White Narcissus are so durable that they can be flowered in shallow bowls of pebbles.
Choose a water-tight container (remember that terracotta bowls can “bleed” water through their porous surface). Fill with attractive river pebbles, gravel, or sand. Arrange the bulbs so that they nearly touch.
Cover so that at least half the bulb is exposed. Keep the container filled with water to which a small amount of plant food is added. I kept warm and sunny they will quickly spring into bloom.
MORE PICTURES click here...
DOWNLOAD e-Book click here...