One autumn, my narcissus order went wrong, and instead of receiving a collection of the classic yellow cultivars ‘King Alfred’ and ‘Carlton’, I was sent a package of ‘Pink Charm’ narcissus. Pink! I’m a traditional gardener; I want to see yellow narcissus and red tulips against a blue sky. But the bulbs were in hand, and I planted them.
Well, now I must take it all back. The ‘Pink Charm’ narcissus are beautiful. The tall, strong stems carry flowers with a snowy white perianth, and a prominent cup (corona) with a yellow base, changing to coral pink near their deeply frilled edges. As the flowers age, the coral pink softens to peachy apricot. These are stylish and elegant blooms, and I also appreciate that the large flower heads are in proportion to the stout stems. Another group of narcissus with double flowers are too heavy for their stems and keel over, and I’ve had to stake each one with little twigs cut from a beech tree. (No more double narcissus!) The ‘Pink Charm’ are clustered together along the front walk, and I’m very glad to see them several times each day. I guess my traditional attitude is beginning to crumble.
I was sufficiently impressed by ‘Pink Charm’ to have a look at what other pink narcissus might be available (all with white perianth and coloured cups). ‘Pink Ribbon’ is a large-cup, frilled narcissus in a more delicate, truer pink. ‘Accent’ is a strong salmon pink colour that doesn’t change or fade. ‘Faith’ also has a salmon pink cup, and a stylized frilled, rolled rim. ‘Passionale’ has the rolled rim, and a pink cup with yellow at the base. ‘Sentinel’ goes through complex colour changes, opening with varying rings of saffron-apricot and salmon pink that fade to pale pink as it ages. But the one that appeals to me the most is ‘Fragrant Rose’, said to have the perfume of raspberries and roses and a long corona of deep reddish-pink.
I’ll definitely be looking for pink narcissus bulbs next autumn.