March plant of the month

Sailing into spring with a delectable daffodil – Narcissus ‘Sailboat’

Narcissus 'Sailboat'March sings to the tune of the daffodil, heralded from the start with St David’s Day on March 1 and its association with this traditional favourite. At Wisley, we also celebrate this traditional flower, and new for 2019 is a mass planting of Narcissus ‘Sailboat’.

If you’ve visited in the last year you might be familiar with our 75m long walkway of metal arches adorned with two cultivars of wisteria – aka the Wisteria Walk. It runs from Gardiner’s House to Weather Hill Cottage, past the bottom of the Mixed Borders. Along the bottom are mass plantings of mixed scilla, Allium ‘Purple Rain’, and the white and yellow Narcissus ‘Sailboat’. The alliums will accompany the wisterias later in the season, but the daffodils and scillas are making an impact right now. It’s a pretty combination.

We chose these daffodils because they are charming, subtle and yet have impact. The cream and white flowers are sweetly scented, and there are often up to three flowers per stem, sometimes as many as five. But they are small, only reaching up to 40cm tall. So with the mass planting, there is a low carpet of fragrant flowers that gently sway in the wind without blowing over.

Planted last autumn, this is a jonquil type of Narcissus similar in appearance to cyclamineus types, with reflexed petals. The small cup (corona) is a pale lemon yellow that gradually fades to cream, and the petals are white. They’re attractive visually and orally, and make a great addition to our springtime display.

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