I cannot say enough good things about Narcissus ‘King Alfred!’ Last fall I ordered fifty of these daffodil bulbs, and was pleased from the outset with the brawny bulbs I received from John Scheepers Flower Bulbs. I planted thirty in an eighteen foot long row, and am happily enjoying at least fifty-eight blooms! The hallmark of trumpet daffodils, ‘King Alfred’ boasts solid, bright yellow blossoms and is ideal for naturalizing. Mine have grown eight to twelve inches high, and the flowers are uniformly four inches wide. They were the earliest daffodil to bloom here in my hardiness zone 5b garden this year, beginning to open on April 15. This year’s slow, cool spring is contributing to a lengthy bloom period; the first blossom has not yet begun to wither!
Here are some around the kids’ tree house. And here is the view, taken from the house, of my eighteen foot row. In the context of our yard, eighteen feet doesn’t seem so very long! I love to see these bright blocks of color when I look out my kitchen window and up the hill, and I plan to plant two or three more rows this fall, working toward fully bordering the perimeter of the lawn. How lovely would it be to have rows of daffodils separated by spring-flowering shrubs, all the way around the yard? Or even shrubs that bloom after the daffodils? Oh, aren’t the gardening wheels in my brain turning now!
Much nearer to the house, in the rock garden, Narcissus ‘Fortissimo’ began to bloom just yesterday. This is a large cupped daffodil, meaning the length of its cup, or corona, is at least one-third, but not equal to, the length of its petals, or perianth segments. (So Wikipedia tells me!) Living up to its title of strength, ‘Fortissimo’s’ flower is large, averaging four and a half inches across, with a height of twelve to fourteen inches. Its petals are bright, lemony yellow, slightly less bold than ‘King Alfred,’ and the cup is orange. I planted nine bulbs in this space, and this morning counted a dozen buds and blooms. With its two colors and smaller corona than that of ‘King Alfred,’ I think ‘Fortissimo’ is better suited for planting where its details can be seen at close range. I’m glad I chose to plant it in my rock garden, and I’m looking forward to seeing at least two more varieties of Narcissus bloom there in the next few weeks!