Substitutions have been made for Erlicheer, Blishing Lady, and Replete. The new varieties are Cheerfulness, Sir Winston Churchill, and White Lion
My goal is always to provide the best possible product and due to crop issues and the pandemic the original varieties did not meet my quality expectations. The new varieties are equally beautifully and the bulb quality is tremendous.
When I starting thinking about this garden, I was torn on what to offer for spring bulbs. There is, of course, the tulip. I like tulips, but their performance across the U.S. varies greatly. Then there is the fact they do not perennialize. There is the daffodil with all of its traits: deer resistant, a reliable perennial, and does outstanding across the U.S. So why was I torn? The answer is the yellow rubber duck-colored daffodil scattered across the U.S. on homesteads and farms. I appreciate the history of those daffodils planted so long ago, but they represent what most people think of when the word "daffodil" is said.
If I was going to offer daffodils, they were going to have to be some of the outstanding varieties many people don't know are available. To get that done, I reached out to some of my grower friends to ask what daffodils they love and find out what varieties might be available. Now that I settled on what daffodils to offer, planting one or two daffodils is not a garden. Planting 25 of each variety for a total of 100? That is a daffodil garden. Keeping in mind how well daffodils perennialize within a few short years, you'll have hundreds of these incredible varieties blooming in your garden.
Narcissus 'Blushing Lady' - This is one of the daffodils that will change your view of them forever. As the name would imply, this daffodil does indeed blush. Three flowers sit a top each stem and as the neck of the daffodil rises, it starts as a soft yellow with a pink trumpet. As the flower opens in the garden, it slowly begins to turn a blush white and an apricot trumpet. Seeing 'Blushing Lady' going through its spring stages is one of the best early season surprises in the garden. All of that seems to almost overshadow that this is a fragrant multi-headed flower daffodil and is 12" to 18" tall.
Narcissus 'British Gamble' - There are plants and flowers that set standards, and that's what 'British Gamble' is for soft pink trumpet daffodils. A beautiful large daffodil with soft white petals and the perfect tone of pink trumpet. Outstanding fragrance on a mid-season daffodil on 18"-24" stems. The origin of 'British Gamble' is a bit of a mystery. It seems as if it was first introduced by a Dutch nursery, but the name would clearly imply some link to the UK. One day maybe I'll find the answer. Until then, this is one of most spectacular of all the large flowering daffodils in the garden.
Narcissus 'Erlicheer' - Erlicheer has such an interesting and maybe even confused history. Before the background, here's the main points about the flower. It is an incredible truly intoxicatingly fragrant multi-head flowering daffodil. Where many multi-head daffodil have 2-3 heads, 'Erlicheer' can have up to 10-12 tightly clustered flowers on the end of 12"-18" heads.
Now on to the history of this flower. Originally discovered in 1934 by a grower in New Zealand, 'Erlicheer' wasn't officially registered and named until 1951. The delay created some confusion which resulted in the plant having several aliases on the market going by names like spring cheer, summer cheer, and even gaiety.
Here's where it gets a tad more confusing. If you've heard of or grown "paper whites," then you've see a "forced" narcissus bulb. Technically true paper whites are Narcissus papyraceus, which don't need to have chill/cold hours to bloom. However, you can take Narcissus like 'Erlicheer' and chill them with refrigeration and then "force" them the same as Narcissus papyraceus aka paper whites. The moral of the story is taxonomy matters, and 'Erlicheer' is beautiful.
Narcissus 'Replete' - I love flowers like 'Replete,' and the stories behind them, Well before social media and people talking about sexy flower color trends, there were people like Murray Evans. Murray was born in 1912 in Corbett, Oregon on Christmas day. In 1934 at 22, he married his wife, Estella, and they both worked in Murray's family bulb business. At that time, the farm was focused on the more common varieties of that time in the daffodil world. Like so many of his generation, Murray served in World War II as a machinist stationed in Oklahoma. After returning from service,a major event would change Mr. Evan's path.
The Oregon Veteran's Affairs office offered a nursery program at night that Murray decided to attend. That decision would put him in contact with nursery owners in Oregon who encouraged Murray to pursue his budding interest in daffodil hybridizing. As both members of the Evan's family worked, they were able to buy their family farm. Murray began to work on his hybridizing while working other jobs on the farm. It wasn't until 1975, Murray was able to fully focus on his hybridizing efforts.
Serendipitously for us that's the same year Murray introduced 'Replete'. Murray would continue to breed and discover daffodils throughout the remainder of his life until passing in 1988. The flower 'Replete' doesn't exist without the person and story of Murray Evans. His eye for a beautiful daffodil was exceptional before most of us were born, and certainly he knew what was beautiful without the help of any of our modern influencers.
I could go on to tell you about what makes 'Replete' beautiful as a flower, but hopefully the photos and more importantly the story of Murray Evans tells even more of what truly makes 'Replete' special.
This whole collection of daffodils couldn't be better described than by the journal entry made by Murray Evans in 1959.
"While I never really relished growing older, the prospects of viewing our new seedlings, plus a number of normal varieties to date, almost makes one feel he is being re-born rather than growing a year older. How wonderful it would be if everyone had as much to look forward to with each passing year."