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Amsonia – The Perennial of the Year

Two daffodils I’ll never grow (and two I will)

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We all appreciate that daffodils can be amongst the most delightful of spring bulbs, that they’re so easy to grow and that they come in such vast variety simply adds to their appeal. But, there are exceptions. Some are just plain ugly.

These are two I noticed last year and in 2009 in the daffodil trials at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley near London. [This year the trial is cut back dramatically and hidden away, I’m sorry to say.] Why would you grow such horrors? It’s not just that they destroy the very concept of the daffodil – simply being different is no good reason for condemnation, after all. It’s that they’re inherently ugly.

‘Jersey Torch’ (above left, click to enlarge) has degenerated into a confusing mess of petals while ‘Apricot Whirl’ (above right) looks as if it’s been punched in the face. Doubtless these are, in a technical sense, triumphs of the plant breeders’ science. But what’s the point of devoting such high skill to create such pitiful results? I’m relieved to see that neither has been awarded an Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

But some new daffodils are really lovely, like the two varieties, ‘Reggae’ and ‘Intrigue’, that I spotted last year in Wisley’s now discontinued display of AGM winners. I wrote them up over on my (also discontinued!) Royal Horticultural Society Trials and Wards blog. These I’ll be ordering.

Comments

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Libby

Agreed! I have to admit to a prejudice against all pink or pinkish daffs, and that one is a particular corker. In the world according to me daffs are allowed to be white, yellow, orange and maybe even a bit green, but not pink. Yuck. And I'm faintly suspicious of double daffs or ones with split trumpets, but I can get over that as long as it's not too nasty or pink.

Graham Rice

Well, Libby, the salmon pink 'Reggae' is really very pretty, I think... http://url.ie/ac2m

I'm usually more upset by the form than the color... Check out the hideous 'Canasta' http://is.gd/7qt7QX !!

Libby

'Reggae' is definitely the best pinkish daff I've seen, though I'm still unsure. It's very pretty and you're right 'Canasta' is truly awful!

Fromthesoil

Thanks for writing about this. Some of these new varieties are just hideous in form. Genetic deformity does not equate with beauty in a great many cases.

Skyler Walker

That one on the left ('Jersey Torch') is utterly horrible. Looks like a monster from a science fiction film.

Graham Rice

Anyone got any other examples of really horrible varieties that desecrate the name of the plant?! Happy to write up some others! Please comment here or email graham@grahamrice.com. Thank you!

Gardening

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