Words: Graham Rice
This lovely trumpet daffodil was a star of the recent RHS trials at Wisley. I’ve been following it since 2007 and it finally received its Award of Garden Merit towards the end of last year.
‘Elka’ is a short trumpet daffodil, only reaching about 26cm (10in) in height. The white petals are rather pointed and create a star-like flower. They set off perfectly the lemon-yellow trumpet, with its slightly frilly edge. As it matures, the trumpet fades almost to pure white.
In the trial, the judges noted that plants in flower took the March frosts very well but that sometimes the flowers tended to face the ground. They also commented: 'A very early flowering cultivar. Beautiful flowers. A tough little rockery plant. Excellent flowers.'
After planting in the autumn of 2009, by 2011 the ten bulbs began to bloom on 25 February and flowering lasted for 31 days, with a total of 28 flowering stems.
Christine Skelmersdale of Broadleigh Gardens reports that ‘Elka’ thrives at the edge of a shrub bed, but it would also be ideal in a clump at the front of large spring container. Flowering early, developing foliage from neighboring plants would soon cover the dying daffodil leaves after flowering.
‘Elka’ was developed by Cornish cut-flower grower Alec Gray who has raised many fine dwarf daffodils including internationally popular varieties such as ‘Tête à Tête’, ‘Jumblie’ and Sundial’. ‘Elka’ is named for two daffodil growing friends, Elizabeth and Kate.