re substance

June 9, 2009
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Categories: Daffodil Types, Historics, Hybridizing, Seedling

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Daffnetters,
Regarding a letter sent over daffnet from Dr David Willis in reference to ‘Weardale Perfection’.  I must have touched a raw nerve. 
I simply stated in two paragraphs on the 12th April the following:
  “Another Backhouse variety ‘Weardale Perfection’ is supposedly illustrated on the back cover of The Daffodil Society Journal, 2008.  Some have gone to great lengths in England to rediscover this variety.  I am somewhat doubtful that the photograph is ‘Weardale Perfection’.  If the photograph is an accurate portrayal of that old variety it appears to show a flower having too much substance for old Weardale Perfection.  Daffodil varieties of the 19th century generally had somewhat poor substance in the perianth segments.  It was only in the twentieth century , from about 1930 onwards that daffodils were bred with perianths of a much heavier substance.  Examples would be Carbineer, Green Island and Kingscourt.
  Unfortunately, as a generation of daffodil enthusiasts disappear who know a variety accurately, it gets to the stage where one can only guess.  With all the hundreds of thousands of daffodil seedlings that have been raised in the last 170 years, guessing is not good enough.  I can only implore growers to label their present day daffodils in a very accurate way and maybe in the future, enthusiasts will not be facing the same problems that are with us now.”
In Sydenhams Book ‘All About Daffodils’ 1911 it mentions in the description of Weardale Perfection that the flower had great substance but the point I was attempting to make, and fear has been misunderstood, is that flowers listed and catalogued in the 19th and earlier 20th century may have stated “great substance” but compared with the flowers of today they would be considered to be thin in substance.  Take King Alfred for example, the greatest flower of its day in 1900 was said to have good size, colour and substance.  Compared with todays yellow trumpets the size of King Alfred would be considered very average at 98mm, substance would be on the thin side and colour would still be acceptable as a clear yellow.
I am quite prepared to stand by my views, they may be classed as “ramblings” but “fantasy” they are not.  I research daffodil history very carefully and have an excellent library to refer to.
Kind regards,
John
John A. Hunter
195 Patons Road
R.D.1 Richmond
Nelson
New Zealand
Phone 64 3 544 0011
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