The Narcissus or Daffodil is a top performer in Shetland. A large patch that my great-grandmother planted still blooms every spring, 30 years after her death. No one tends to them except the Shetland Ponies.
Plant the bulbs in October to December (before first frost) for spring flowers.There are literally thousands of varieties available; some have double blooms, others have a classic trumpet shape. They come in white, orange and peach and even pink, if you are not fond of the classic yellow.
Daffodils don’t have a scent, but Narcissus have a beautiful perfume. The varieties pictured here are all highly scented. Click on the photo to learn the flowers name.
I have found that the more common varieties tend to open earlier in the year. The miniature varieties have bloomed as early as February, here in Shetland. The early blooms are always a welcome sight, after a dark winter.
It was discovered the Daffodil has a medicinal chemical in it called Galanthamine. The plant is now being harvested to create a breakthrough medication to treat dementia. Traditionally the plant had other medicinal uses. The Daffodil is even written about by Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654), the famous herbalist, astrologer and doctor:
‘Yellow Daffodils are under the dominion of Mars, and the roots thereof are hot and dry in the third degree. The roots boiled and taken in posset drink cause vomiting and are used with good success at the appearance of approaching agues, especially the tertian ague, which is frequently caught in the springtime. A plaster made of the roots with parched barley meal dissolves hard swellings and imposthumes, being applied thereto; the juice mingled with honey, frankincense wine, and myrrh, and dropped into the ears is good against the corrupt and running matter of the ears, the roots made hollow and boiled in oil help raw ribed heels; the juice of the root is good for the morphew and the discolouring of the skin.’ – Culpepper’s Complete Herbalist