I have featured some old varieties of narcissus on these pages though no older than Van Sion, chosen to illustrate Division 4, the double daffodil of garden origin. The description is defined thus: More than one flower per stem, with doubling of the perianth segments or the corona (or both). This ancient variety is very variable, indeed it can have a distinctly green cast and I had neater specimens than this, photographed on 20th March. In his seminal ‘A Handbook of Narcissus’, published in 1934 EA Bowles gave a historical perspective on the age and origins of this great survivor: “Its first appearance in England is that chronicled by Parkinson, who tells in the Paradisus that Vincent Sion, a Fleming, living in London, cherished it in his garden for many years before it flowered in the year 1620. He thought that John de Frauqueville might have given him the bulb, but that worthy disclaimed the honor, never having seen the like before.” Tough as old boots and very reliable, there’s a certain charm in having such an historical bulb in our garden.

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