Fragrant Jonquils

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There’s a patch of neglected jonquils on a slope near my house. Jonquils, or tazetta daffodils, like neglect. They happily multiply year after year, growing more and bigger bulbs. You can dig them up in late summer or autumn when the leaves have died off and move them, but they might not flower for the first year. After that, they’ll settle in and thrive. Jonquils tolerate warmer climates than their cousins, daffodils.

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They’ll roughly double their number every year, so after a few years you could have enough to sell. I dug these bulbs, with leaves sprouting, from my driveway because I wanted to move them before I flattened them any further. Usually, they should be moved when fully dormant in late summer!

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I pack dry bulbs into paper bags in autumn and sell them at markets. Some years I also sell bunches of the blooms as cut flowers. Spread the joy!

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They flower in mid winter, with clusters of little fragrant flowers like bunches of tiny daffodils. They can be yellow, cream or white.

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Jonquils are highly scented, even overpowering. I like to plonk a few in a vase near the toilet. They make good cut flowers and will open inside over days if you pick them at bud stage, when the individual flower buds are about to bloom. I buy vases at op shops or second-hand stores. You could also use a washed glass jar. Food jars are a good size for a medium bunch, or a fancy glass water bottle will fit a few stems.

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A large vase of jonquils on the table is a thrifty winter luxury. What’s your favourite winter flower?

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