"But though we may not fathom ever
By what strange alchemy were these changes made.
Yet in our gardens we may still endeavor
To have a glorious Daffodil parade."
-Grant E. Mitsch
Semi-dwarf usually in the ten to fourteen inch range, Narcissis jonquilla 'Pipit' was developed by the late great American daffodil hybridizer Grant E. Mitsch, several of whose creations, developed right here in the Pacific Northwest, we have in our gardens. This one's a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit.
It has rather pointy petals & a distinctive ruffled trumpet. The petals start off lemon-yellow & fade to white as they age.
During the fading & changing process they often have a yellow & white streaked stage, while the trumpet, likewise starting out a soft yellow, fades to ivory white on the outside & along the ruffles first, still having a yellow interior for a while.
As a rule the trumpet fades to white much more quickly than the petals, so it will be white against yellow sepals (or white against yellow & white-striped sepals). 'Pipit's' chameleonism is a behavior that renders it a variety sometimes called "reverse bicolor."
We planted eight bulbs in autumn 2003 in full morning sun on a streetside garden, underneath a Star Magnolia, & mixed into the drift are eight double-daffodils called 'Cheerfulness' which has quite a different looking gardenia-like bloom, showing themselves about the same time as 'Pipit.'
The first photo shows Pipit late in March when the trumpet is very yellow, & the corolla with just a hint of white streaking in its yellow. The second photo in April shows the trumpet as it approaches becoming pure white. They go through this process quite slowly, & are long-lasting blooms compared to many other varieties of narcissi we have, despite that we have them growing in a very low-maintenance area.
Each stem is multi-flowering, two or three flowers usually, four occasionally, so a drift of only a few bulbs can look surprisingly flowery, & will be all the more so each year, because 'Pipit' naturalizes very well. If lifted every third year, a great many extra bulbs will be discovered.
The blooms are sweetly scented, though you have to bend down to them to appreciate their light perfume. 'Cheerfulness' growing with it smells even nicer, being more of a spice-scent compared to 'Pipit's' more familiar scented-daffodil odor.
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