Horticultural Brass Section

Don’t you hear those trumpets blowing? Through the spring sun and rain and whipsawing temperatures, through calm, through breezes and winds, the daffodil trumpets at the tompound put on annual concert. Not everyone hears what comes from the trumpet of a daffodil, but sometimes I think I do. The rest of the time, these vernal days, I want to know what tones these trumpets blow. These trumpets make me yearn to be a synesthete.

The classic daffodil is strong yellow, with a tubular, flaring, frilled trumpet that springs from  the center of six sepals. Not all daffodils have smell, but many varieties are pleasantly scented. On a calm, warm, sunny day in April, the yard here can be fragrantly intoxicating.

This evening, in a patch of old fashioned double daffodils, I found a blossom that combines double and single traits. The trumpet is so packed full of petals that it’s starting to split. As you see by the arching stem, the extra petals make for a heavy blossom.

We have a lot of types with extra-flarey, extra frilly trumpets. Sometimes they’re so flared you can hardly call them trumpets. Let’s get botanical and call them corollas. One of the pleasures of photography is that after the moment of exposure, when studying an image, you often find previously unnoticed detail.

Let’s get lawyerly, and call it cross-examination.

This is one of the strongest and showiest of our early daffodils.

A well-frilled trumpet

The interior of the double daffodil below has the chromatic exuberance and richness of a peak-of-perfection chicken-of-the-woods mushroom. If you’ve never seen a fresh polyporus sulfureous bursting out of an old oak tree, you’re missing a visual and a gustatory treat. Don’t eat the daffodils, though, as they and their kin contain the alkaloids narcitine and narcicysteine, and are mildly poisonous. That’s why deer don’t like daffs.

Rich colors, with a visitor

In closing, we’ll ask one of the performers to step into the spotlight, and take a bow.

2 responses to “Horticultural Brass Section

  1. Tom, Tona forwarded your post to me and I found it inspiring. We too are surrounded by daffodils, and tomorrow I’m going out with my camera and try some closeups. I loved your photos.

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