Even though you might not have been away for your summer holidays yet – I haven’t – flowerbulbs are already arriving in the garden centres. After the challenging weather we’ve had in the UK this year they are a welcome sight. Gardeners are always ready to plan and plant ahead of a new season!
When it comes to choosing flowerbulbs for naturalising, many reach for bulk bags of mixed daffodils and narcissi. These work well if you plant a lot of them in big drifts. In smaller numbers the effect can be very “spotty”, as different varieties bloom at different times. In any case they are hardly naturalisti, and if you want to create that meadow effect then native bulb flowers or others of similar character are the ones to go for.
The British native wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. lobularis is a delight once you get it established. It has a tiny bulb for a narcissus, more like that of a snowdrop. So buy it in as soon as it arrives in the garden centre and plant immediately before the bulbs dry out and shrivel. Plant in groups of 10-15 bulbs spacing the bulbs a couple of inches apart at a depth of three times the depth of the bulb. It grows best in thin grass under the dappled shade of trees, in well drained conditions. After flowering, don’t remove the flowers; allow the seed heads to develop and ripen. In early summer they change to parchment, split and release black seeds. The plant will spread and multiply more by seed than by the bulbs multiplying.