Of all the Narcissus's I have spoken of, this is much the finest. There are three different Sorts of the Narcissus's, that we call Narcissus's of Japan, or Indian Narcissus's. I will first give the Description of 'em; to the end, that having shewn what they are, I may be better understood concerning the different Ways of Cultivating them.
The first Narcissus of Japan has Flowers like the Lilly, and begins to flower about the end of May, or at the beginning of June; in the following manner.
At first, we see rising from its Bulb a smooth Stalk, about as big as the little Finger, and a foot and half in height: at the end of this Stalk grows a kind of Sheath, which coming to swell, produces several Cups, each whereof supports a Flower, compos'd of six Leaves that are streak'd, bent backwards, each of them growing on a large Pedicle, being of a yellowish red colour: from the midst of which rise six Pivots, tipt with Pendants, hanging downwards, and of a red colour.
When these Flowers are pass'd, two or three Leaves succeed them, which growing from their Bulbs, look like those of the Day-Lilly, except only that they are a little broader and greener, and that they are spotted with little red specks: they are not very long, and they last till Winter. The Second Narcissus of Japan, which is very scarce, is a Narcissus made like a Lilly, but the Leaves of its Flowers are more spreading, and fall not down so much. 'Tis more fruitful in Flowers, than the first: it blows in September, and is of a white colour mingled with red. The Case that incloses its Flowers is compos'd of white Membranes, which no sooner begin to open themselves, but they disclose Flower-Leaves, something reddish, and resembling as it were small Plumes of Feathers; which when they are quite blown, represent a Marigold of a beautiful red, the bottom whereof is pale within and without.
In the middle of these Flowers grow six unequal Pivots, at the end whereof are Pendants, like those of the Saffron, falling down like the Fennel, and of a red colour.
The Third Narcissus of Japan is not less beautiful than the Second, and differs nothing from it, but that its red is brighter. For its Flowers are made in the same manner, tho' it produces not so many, nor are the Leaves so large, because the Bulb is less.
Tho' these Three Sorts of Narcissus's are very scarce, to satisfy nevertheless those that are desirous to have them, see here the Rules they ought to observe in cultivating them.
This Narcissus, like all the rest, is multiplied by Bulbs; and is cultivated with more Success in Pots, than in the naked Earth; because if it be in Pots, 'tis easy to give it as much Sun as it requires, in order to produce its Flowers.
These Pots should be fill'd with very light Earth; that is to say, two thirds of Mold taken from a Hot-Bed, and the other third of Kitchen-Garden Earth well sifted. Having made this Composition of Earth, and fill'd the Pots we plant therein the Bulbs of this Narcissus two or three inches deep; nor do we pull them up to take off the Suckers, till the second or third Year after; and always in the Month of March, having all along taken care to keep the Pots in a Place where the Frost never enters, and that is not damp.
We leave these Bulbs without Watering them, from the Day they are planted till the Month of May, taking care to keep them always in the warmest Place we can.
When that Month is come, we give them a plentiful Wetting, by dipping the Pot into Water, and leaving it there till the Water swims on the surface of the Earth that fills the Pot; after which we set it in the hottest Sun we can.
After this first Wetting, we are careful to Water 'em as much as the Heats will permit. This we may not neglect to do, unless the Weather be very rainy.
This Plant requires a warm Place, and delights to be where the Sun naturally darts down his fiercest Beams: For which Reason, unless we are exact in Ordering it according to the Method above-prescrib'd, 'twill scarce ever give us a Flower worth the having.
Thus we govern the Narcissus of Japan till the Month of October, to oblige it to produce many Suckers, and beautiful Flowers in its Season.
The following Year, we do not, as I have said already, take up the chief Bulb; but only change the Earth that lies over for other of the like Nature, and leave it thus till May, without Watering it. The third Year we pull up the Bulbs, to take away the Suckers that are grown about them.
The two other Narcissus's of the same Kind require a sandy Soil mixt with Kitchin-Garden Earth, well sifted, into which are set the Bulbs, two or three inches deep. They expect likewise a great deal Sun; and as to the rest, they desire to be cultivated like the First.
I would not advise in our Climates, to raise of these Kinds of Narcissus's in the naked Earth; where they will not succeed so well as in Pots, by reason of the niceties to be observ'd in their Cultivation.