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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)

“Floral apostles! that in deny splendour weep without woe, and blush without a crime.” —Horace Smith

“Floral apostles! that in deny splendour weep without woe, and blush without a crime.” —Horace Smith.

The Narcissus, the “Queen of Spring,” is again abloom in our gardens, and, no doubt, among the ranks of raiwaymen there are many who desire to produce these lovely flowers in all their glory. The Narcissus is easily cultivated and requires very little attention after the bulbs have been planted.

I will here outline the method I have adopted in the cultivation of these flowers, a method which, in a great measure, has contributed to my success on the show benches.
Narcissi—“Wheel of Fortune.”

Narcissi—“Wheel of Fortune.”

It is preferable that the Narcissi beds should be prepared in the kitchen garden, in a sunny aspect, well sheltered from the prevailing winds. If such a position is not available, a good breakwind can be obtained by erecting a double row of wire netting—one or two inch mesh—spaced four inches apart. The beds, which should be four to five feet wide and running east to west (and as long as desired), should be prepared early in October. By this method the necessary hoeing and weeding can be carried out without treading on the beds, and the sun can stream down between the rows. Let us assume it is decided to make the bed thirty feet long by four feet wide. In such a case one should procure two sound boards twenty feet by six inches by one inch, and two boards four feet by six inches by one inch. The first thing to do is to place the boards (in the form of a frame) on top of the ground in the position selected. Then remove the top seven inches of soil between this frame, and bank up the soil outside.

Now, to the surface of the bed thus excavated, give a dressing per square yard as follows: —1lb. of fresh slaked lime, 8ozs. of soot and 4ozs. of pure bone dust. Thoroughly dig this dressing into the bed (breaking up the soil well), and then level off. Proceed then to apply a double layer of good cow-pasture turf, or cocksfoot clumps, placed grass-side down. When the turf has been laid evenly in the bed, replace (on to the top of the turf) the soil which was first removed. This will raise the surface of the bed to the top of the boards—six inches above the level of the surrounding ground—thus ensuring perfect drainage.

That this bed may not lie idle for the three months it would not be required for Narcissi culture, it could be utilised for raising cabbage, cauliflower or like plants. It is essential, however, page 36 that these be transplanted before January, A week to ten days before the planting time for bulbs, give the bed a further top dressing of lime (4ozs, to the square yard), and lightly fork this in and level off the surface.