Narcissus tazetta ‘Ziva’

Back in, oh, October, when I was loading up on winter-blooming bulbs for naturalizing, Ziva kept coming up again and again as the showiest and most reliable paperwhite for the Austin area.  I bought eight bulbs, stuck them in the ground, and crossed my fingers that they would survive the enthusiasm of the mystery ROUS that’s been digging up my backyard under the cover of night.  Well, let me tell you, my back garden for the last few weeks has been filled with the sweet stench of success!
Living up to its reputation, Ziva is gorgeous and easy to grow.  While the other narcissus varieties I planted have taken their sweet time deciding whether they want to deal with Texas, Ziva’s green leaves practically leapt from the soil.

But, good god, once they sprung into flower, they smelled like ass! The musky reek of Ziva reminded me of horses and livestock. At twenty paces, the smell slapped me in the face and demanded satisfaction with a pistol duel at dawn.

As pretty and harmless as they looked all lined up in a row, planting 8 bulbs was overkill on the scent front, and what with Ziva’s naturalizing tendencies, next year should be rife with what we from Wisconsin dairy country ironically call “fresh country air.” (Or as the t-shirts say: “Wisconsin: Smell Our Dairy Air.”)

There’s an ironic sort of happy ending to this olfactory horror story, though.  You may have noticed me saying “smelled,” rather than “smells,” and this is not because Ziva has finished blooming or is suddenly wafting BOD Man’s Really Ripped Abs Fragrance on the breeze.

Now that cedar season has hit, I can’t smell a damn thing, and thankfully, that that includes Ziva’s fresh dairy air.

About The Gardener of Good & Evil

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15 Responses to Narcissus tazetta ‘Ziva’

  1. Diana says:

    So sorry about your Dairy Air! But your blooms are beautiful – and I am so jealous. I’ve always thought that paperwhites smelled like cat pee, and have never wanted to get too close to them. Love to look at them, but I can see how cedar fever could work in your favor in this case.

  2. vertie says:

    Such a shame about the um, aroma, because they are some beautiful blooms!

  3. Lori says:

    Diana – They are gorgeous! But I’m hoping that in the future, their bloom time and cedar fever will continue to coincide. 😉Vertie – Yeah! I planted a different paperwhite, Avalanche, as well, but it’s taking forever to get going. Allegedly, it doesn’t smell so awful. We’ll see.

  4. getgrounded says:

    It reminds me of my Indian Hawthorne bushes that I used to have. They smelled just like an old cat box and I couldn’t get close to them. And by the way, have you discovered Zyrtec?

  5. Lori says:

    getgrounded – I’ve never smelled Indian Hawthorne, and that sounds like a good thing. Maybe a hedge of Indian Hawthorne fronted by nice big row of Ziva could make a great unwelcoming front garden for the violently antisocial. Sadly, Zyrtec doesn’t do a thing for me. Most allergy medications make me feel so stoned that I hate to take them. The one thing that’s worked so far is 12-hour pseudoephedrine, but then I can’t sleep. But then I can’t sleep without breathing easily either, so it’s a draw! I just keep reminding myself that I could be back in Wisconsin, where the current temperature is -7 F and feels like -26 and I’d probably have a winter cold anyway. 😉

  6. They certainly are pretty blooms Lori. I know there must be a paperwhite out there that has a lovely fragrance. I have some narcissi that bloom later in the spring and they have a wonderful fragrance. I have no idea what their name is because I didn’t record it! Typical, but I’m trying to do better. Blogging demands it.

  7. EAL says:

    Of all the tazettas, Ziva has the strongest smell. I find that other varieties like Early Pearl, Grand Soleil d’Or and Inbal have milder fragrances, that are more like a true daffodil scent.Ziva is the fastest and most floriferous tazetta, but I no longer force it.

  8. They are very beautiful, Lori. I’m thinking of putting some in the ground too.~~Dee

  9. Lori says:

    EAL – Ziva really was spectacularly fast once I put it in the ground. None of the other tazettas I planted have even gotten large enough to bloom yet. Despite the smell, I think I'd plant it again, but in a location where I could see it from the window and not smell it involuntarily. I'm going to look into those other tazettas you mentioned & see if they're reasonably hardy down here.Dee – Just make sure you're prepared for the smell! They are gorgeous, though. I'd prefer to look at them through a window, myself. 😉

  10. Lori, you are a hoot! I can’t believe that your roses don’t trump that stinky flower! Needless to say, I’m gonna give it a try! They are pretttty, even if pretty stinky!

  11. getgrounded says:

    Lori, did you get any weather down south here from this supposed storm? I got about two minutes of rain, no wind at all, no hail, no excitement. I’m feeling left out again…

  12. Hair Bows says:

    My good they look extremely gorgeous! White beauty.

  13. Your blooms are really stunning. I would love to have some in my garden soon.

  14. Mark says:

    wonder if there's a relationship between this flower and the word Narcissistic, which comes from the mythological figure… any how, it's a very beautiful flower, probably my favorite after daisies.
    viagra online

  15. Deidra says:

    Wow, there is a lot of worthwhile material above!

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