Balmoral’s return

May 14, 2009

Categories: Daffodil Types, Historics, Hybridizer, Hybridizing

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To all interested in historic daffodils,
As some of you may be aware there is a project to restore the Brodie of Brodie’s collection of daffodils for the National Trust for Scotland now that they have taken over Brodie Castle and grounds.
About four years ago I returned bulbs of the Brodie’s cultivar Perth to the head gardener David Wheeler at Brodie Castle.  In the March 2009 issue of the “English Garden” magazine there is an article on the Brodie’s flowers at the Castle.  In this magazine they mention that Perth had been returned from New Zealand and has now acclimatised at its original home and in April this year produced 7 or 8 flowers.
Yesterday I posted back a large healthy single bulb of the 2Y-Y Brodie of Brodie cultivar  Balmoral.  This is a very rare daffodil here in New Zealand now as only Ron Abernethy of Dunedin and myself have small stocks of it. 
As to the history of Balmoral. In the 1938 Royal Horticultural Society Daffodil Year Book No. 9 opposite page 6l (fig 19) there is a good black and white photograph of two flowers of Balmoral.  It is an all yellow daffodil of near trumpet measurement but rightly classified as division 2 large cup.  In the same 1938 RHS Year Book on page 119, it states that Balmoral was given an Award of Merit as an exhibition flower by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Award states:
Narcissus “Balmoral” A.M. April 12, 1938.  As a variety for exhibition (fig 19).  A fine, large, well-poised, Incomparabilis variety (Division 2A) with exceptionally broad segments.  The chrome-yellow flower, in which the corona was of a slightly deeper shade than the perianth, was 4-3/4 inches in diameter, borne on a stout 21 inch stem.  The smooth segments were 1-7/8 inch long, the outer ones being no less than 2-1/8 inches broad.  The neat corona was just over 1-3/4 inch long, expanding gradually towards the mouth, which was 2-1/8 inches in diameter.  Raised by the Brodie of Brodie and shown by Mr J.L. Richardson.
The stock of Balmoral was sold by the Brodie of Brodie under the number 30/27 to J. Lionel Richardson, Prospect House, Waterford, Ireland.  Richardson catalogued, named and registered Balmoral in 1935 (the year I was born) and it was from him some of the variety was purchased by Alan Gibson of New Zealand.  It is from Gibson’s commercial stock of Balmoral that the bulb sent had its beginnings here.  Gibson’s catalogue of 1936/7 has a description as follows:
Balmoral – An outstanding Giant Incomparabilis, with an immensely broad overlapping perianth of great substance and a large cup nicely frilled at mouth.  The whole flower is a uniform clear deep yellow, a tall vigorous plant.  8 pounds each.
You may notice there is a slight variation from the RHS Award of Merit description and Gibson’s, that being the colour.  This can be explained quite simply, if Balmoral is grown in the open and exposed to bright sunlight, the colour will be fairly uniform for perianth and crown, if it is grown protected, as J.L. Richardson used to grow his exhibition flowers, a slight difference in colour may be detected between perianth and crown.
J.M. de Navarro researched the parentage of the Brodie of Brodie daffodils very thoroughly in two parts.  The first being in the 1950 RHS Daffodil & Tulip Year Book No. 16 page 183 to 199.  The second part in the 1951/2 RHS Year Book No. 17 pages 101 to 104.  It is in the second part, page 101, that Balmoral’s pedigree is given in great detail.
Balmoral  30/27  was bred from Pilgrimage x 141/22
 141/22 was 319/13 x Fortune
  319/13 was Beacon x Broadford
The Royal Horticultural Society have recently produced a new Daffodil Register and Classified List 2008 – unfortunately there are a number of errors in this last printing of the Register.  They have listed for the first time another Balmoral of the Brodie’s – a yellow trumpet, with the breeding Hebron x Alchemist.  This is Cromarty, hence this listing under the name of Balmoral is quite erroneous and should be deleted.  The correct listing is also in the Register as Balmoral 2Y-Y Brodie of Brodie pre 1935 – Pilgrimage hybrid, with a description.
It has now reached the stage here in New Zealand that possibly only Ron Abernethy and I would be able to positively identify Balmoral. The Brodie of Brodie’s daffodils are becoming increasingly rare, anyone still holding accurately named healthy stocks of this hybridists raising should contact David Wheeler at Brodie Castle.
National Daffodil Society of New Zealand 
John A. Hunter
195 Patons Road
R.D.1 Richmond
New Zealand
Phone 64 3 544 0011

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