"You search for beauty near & far
While winter holds you with its chills,
But soon spring's gates will stand ajar,
And in will march the Daffodils!"
-Grant E. Mitsch
'Jetfire' Daffodil was introduced in 1966 by the late American hybridizer Grant E. Mitsch, whose further miniature narcissus creations 'Pipit,' 'Bell Song,' & 'Hillstar' we also have in our gardens.
Mitsch began hybridizing daffodils in the 1930s, & his company continues today under the ownership of his daughter & son-in-law in Hubbard, Oregon. The company's catalog consists of some of the most expensive & rarest daffodil cultivars in the world; prices are downright shocking. But a select few of Mitsch's hybrids are in mass-production, available from major bulb distributors inexpensively.
This is a dwarf bicolor that stays in the eight to twelve inch range of height, ten inches being average. The intensely yellow perianth surrounds an even darker yellow trumpet that ages to orange-red. The trumpet is thinly ruffled, & the perianth is reflexed.
It likes a moist loamy spot with more sun than shade. The species Narcissus cyclamineus from which 'Jetfire' was derived is native of Portugal & Spain, where it formerly grew most often along river banks at forest edges. The strictly wild species is now feared to be extinct & no longer to be found in the wilds of Portugal & Spain, but there is some hope unhybridized specimens might someday be rediscovered in old gardens of private estates.
N. cyclamineus cultivars do better than most daffodils in dappled-shade & woodland gardens, & are not as apt to rot during summer dormancy in a watered area, so long as drainage is perfect.
An early bloomer as early as late February, & reliably for March & April, 'Jetfire' is one of the handful of daffodils that occasionally reblooms in May. It is also one of the bulbs that can be forced indoors very easily. The pleasantly scented flowers are long-lasting in cut bouquets. In the garden it perennializes & reproduces its bulb rapidly. It will need to be lifted about every third year to divide out the extra bulbs.
With so many fine traits & such adaptability, it is no wonder that it is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
In autumn 2003 we planted a dozen 'Jetfire' bulbs in front of the deciduous Azalea 'Apricot Surprise,' to right of a drift of an even smaller dwarf daffodil which is called 'Topolino,' the little mouse. Because 'Jetfire' turned out to be one of the most beautiful & longest lasting of our daffodil choices, in 2004 we added another ten of the largish bulbs.
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