Christiaan van Schalkwyk, South Africa

Intro and seedling

July 29, 2013

Categories: General, Hybridizing, Seedling

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Hi All

I’ve been visiting Daffnet (and Daffseek !) very regularly the past few months. Obviously I learned a lot.

Intro first: I have been growing things for an odd 30 years – succulents and cacti mostly, together with the “normal”garden plants. Got hooked on daylilies and Oxalis some years ago and  I also started hybridizing daylilies. Daffodils were – in my mind – elusive plants that just would not grow where I am. That is in the arid north western part of South Africa where our summers are really hot and our winters mild. Rainfall is less than 100mm (4”) per year. About six years ago I bought some commercial bulbs from a local nursery and they did very well in my garden, even multiplied well. They were a packet of paperwhites and seven bulbs of “Flower Carpet”. This changed my way of thought with regards to daffodils.  I since then have aquired some more cultivars (not that many available here) and some seeds. I’ve been looking to the Australian side of the world for sources, as we share similar weather and the same hemisphere. Seeds sown are mainly from jonquillas and tazettas, with some bulbocodium and species as well.

Some four years ago I pollinated “Flower Carpet”, the pod yielded three seeds. These got sown and all three germinated. One of them decided to bloom this year.

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Now a question. Obviously I think this is the best flower ever, but then I might be biased (or plain wrong !). Is the frilly edge to the cup a desirable trait? The flower is about 7cm (2.75″) across. The cup is a slightly deeper yellow than the petals. Slightly fragrant, more so towards the evening.

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4 Responses to Intro and seedling

  1. Nancy Tackett, California
    Nancy Tackett, California
    July 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Welcome to Daffnet Christiaan!

    It is very nice to have another person from the Southern Hemisphere discussing daffodils with us. You are the first South African Daffnet contributor!

    Regarding your question about frilly cups, those of us who like to grow and enjoy daffodils may find the frilly cup very attractive. It is reminiscent of  older and beloved “historic” daffodil varieties.

    We hope to continue to hear from you about your progress with daffodils.


  2. Harold Koopowitz, California
    Harold Koopowitz, California
    July 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm


    I would think that many of the tazettas would grow well for you. I remember seeing clumps of a white tazetta with yellow coronas growing happily in Middlepos, middle of nowhere.

    Which town are you in or near?

    best wishes


  3. David Adams, New Zealand
    July 30, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Hi Christiaan

    Welcome from Canterbury, New Zealand where our climate is also similar to yours although we do get a little more rain. Listen to Harold’s advice as he knows South Africa well. The tazettas and bulbocodiums will certainly be a good start for you. And to have your own seedlings already. The quality is irrelevant as they are unique to you and are obviously happy to grow in your climate. The world of daffodil people is a wonderful world to be in.

    David Adams

  4. Christiaan van Schalkwyk, South Africa
    Christiaan van Schalkwyk, South Africa
    July 30, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Nancy – Thanks for the welcoming ! I guess the look of the seedling is “historic” as Flower carpet dates back to pre 1948.

    Harold – The Middelpos you referred to, is that the one close to Sutherland in the Karoo? I am from Upington, we do experience more severe summers than that area, and not that cold. I dug some similar tazettas from Fraserburg (also close to Middelpos) – white with yellow coronas – from my mother-in-law’s garden. They are quite short. I have some seed pods ripening on them right now. Apparently did not take a picture of it . . .

    David – Thanks for the welcome! I could not find any newer cultivars in South Africa to use for hybridizing. Actually, the total number of available cultivars are less than 20. Importation, postage and phytosanitary costs are quite high for bulbs. The seedlings I have are from seed that I bought from Lawrence Trevanion from Australia. If I look at the pictures he post here, I believe they are going to be very good !