Almost everyone has a childhood memory of daffodils, that universal symbol of the end of winter and the arrival, once again, of spring. Fewer likely know that the plant with which most of us are familiar is one among dozens of species and thousands of registered cultivars of the genus Narcissus, hundreds of which are currently in commercial production. Narcissus ‘Grower’s Pride’ All narcissus are bulbs, all produce linear, strap-shaped, or sometimes rushlike basal leaves, and all bear flowers singly or in clusters of a few to many atop upright stems from six inches to two feet tall.
Cyclamen in supermarkets, their plastic pots wrapped gaily in shiny paper, are as emblematic of winter as are poinsettias of Christmas and red roses of Valentine's Day. We can perhaps be forgiven for thinking of cyclamen as short-lived decorations to be discarded after flowering since that is how these charming little plants are usually marketed. Cyclamen hederifolium Supermarket cyclamen are mostly highly bred, frost-tender cultivars of Cyclamen persicum, a winter- and spring-flowering species native to the summer-dry eastern Mediterranean region. These cultivars are commonly grown as seasonal houseplants and are known as florists' cyclamen to distinguish them from
I've always loved the delicate little alliums native to the west coast of North America and have long ignored the larger Mediterranean and Asian species, especially their highly bred, look-at-me cultivars, as just too formal or artificial-looking for my laid-back, mostly summer-dry garden. Allium unifolium, native to coastal mountains from southern Oregon to northern Baja California But, in much the same way that yellow flowers come to be appreciated by maturing gardeners as the youthful obsession with pinks and lavenders gives way, plants once considered unsuitable may eventually be seen as welcome counterpoints. Allium aflatunense seedheads and