From the earliest days, my parents purchased bulbs from the late David Bell, a well known and respected New Zealand breeder and my collection today still consists of many Bell varieties. Mr Bell invited my mother to submit some names for his new introductions - among them was ‘Glenwynne’ which was the name of my parents pedigree Jersey herd which was assigned to a white/pink to the delight of my mother. (Photo of Glenwynne at left)
This Australian bred tazetta (pic at right) is still very useful in local shows. Every spring, Dunedin growers would come to our South Otago shows with their hopefuls and would leave again in the knowledge that, once again, my Highfield Beauty bloom had pipped them at the post. I’d better state here that it was nothing I did any different – it just obviously loved our soil and conditions and performed reliably every year. In fact before we moved here I had planted a clump outside the lounge window and every year would forget to lift and divide them despite my mother’s urgings and concern. When we were lifting prior to moving to Waitepeka, would you believe that the bulbs were 4 layers deep, massive and had never skipped a beat bearing masses of flowers each spring! Incredible.
Anyway, back to the shows. One year, a Dunedin grower came in with a wicked gleam in his eye and thinking ‘I’ll beat that girl this year!’ His flower had not two or three but four florets on it – an outstanding specimen of Highfield Beauty. Can you imagine his thoughts when he benched his flower to find one of mine standing proudly with five florets on the stem! Nothing I did special, just an exceptional year for Highfield Beauty. He, he!
In spring 2007, four northern hemisphere daffodil enthusiasts were making their way to the Winton National Show and took the scenic route through South Otago and the Catlins. Their journey led them to the coastal town of Kaka Point, where one visitor was seen photographing daffodils near the road along the shore. A conversation with the lady gardener ensued and Kiwi southern hospitality led to an invitation to share lunch. The esteemed Irish hybridist was delighted to see one of his hybrids growing in the garden and over lunch the question ‘Where did you get it from?’ led to them being directed to our place at Waitepeka. A wonderful afternoon was spent here daff-chatting and for us a great honour to meet such lovely people who are also on the experienced top shelf of daffodil people worldwide. In spring 2009 came an email from the Irish grower saying to expect some bulbs of ‘Kaka Point’ named in honour of the lovely seaside town and the people he met there. The ‘Kaka Point lady’ is delighted and looks forward to the first flower and the opportunity to share the tale of the mystery visitors and their chance encounter and the lovely daffodil named in honour of this encounter. September 2011 note – Kaka Point flowered last year (spring 2010) for me and buds are developing at present. October 2012 note - this variety is acclimatising well and yielded several good blooms. It is also increasing well which is great. Photo of Kaka Point at right, kindly supplied by the flower's breeder, Brian Duncan from Northern Ireland and accessed via Daffseek daffseek.com/
This daffodil (photo at right) was bred by me and is named in honour of my late father (no he wasn’t little!) When I showed it to my mother and told her I thought it worth registering she was very pleased. It is a very neat yellow trumpet which consistently grows, and has since been approved by the New Zealand National Daffodil Society, as an Intermediate. When I told my mother what I was naming it she blushed modestly and said ‘Oh goodness, you can’t call it that’. My suggestion that I call it ‘Little Muriel’ soon brought approval of the name ‘Little Henry’. One day Mum I might just register one worthy of your name too!
These beauties are fine poeticus hybrids (Division 9) bred by South Otago lady, the late Isobel Dreaver. I recall visiting her home years ago with my late mother when Isobel went to the freezer and carefully withdrew a poeticus seedling she had bred and flowered. It was stunning! These three are a fine addition to anyone’s daffodil collection and ‘Wisp Rim’ and ‘Catlin Jewel’ bear names of local geographical identity. The Wisp is the name of a prominent hill in the Catlins region where these daffodils were bred, the region also explaining the name of Catlin Jewel. This picturesque area of southern New Zealand is a very popular tourist destination, predominantly unspoilt. Try googling ‘The Catlins’ and book your flight and accommodation! Since first writing this, several more of Isobel’s lovely poet’s, Disc Eye, Izzie’s Pride, Katea Charm and Wisp Ruby have been registered. Photos at right
Last year I had the great pleasure of being able to supply these two varieties to a grand-daughter of the late Mr Len Chambers who bred and registered them. If for no other reason (believe me there are plenty of other good reasons) this proves the value of retaining and caring for the old daffodil varieties. As a genealogist, this was doubly satisfying! Other varieties registered by Mr Chambers are ‘Faymelthea’, ‘Len’s Legacy’, ‘Springston Charm’, ‘Springston Jewel’, and ‘Springston Remembrance’. If you have these varieties and/or know someone who has them, do please get in touch