|Narcissus 'February Gold' - Graceful and gorgeous!|
When it comes to naturalising bulbs in grass many will reach for bulk bags of mixed daffodils and narcissi. These may work well if you plant a lot of them in big drifts. In smaller numbers the effect can be very “bitty” as different varieties bloom at different times. In any case they are hardly naturalistic, and if you want to create that meadow effect then you want varieties that look as if they belong in grass.
Narcissus ‘Thalia’ is a good example of a garden hybrid that suits a naturalistic setting. This graceful narcissus produces beautifully poised delicate white flowers on strong stems, two or three flowers appearing on each stem. Double narcissi are best avoided however Narcissus ‘Pencrebar’ is a possible exception. Its double egg yolk blobs are small, graceful and are carried on fine stems. It has a lovely scent and is a long lasting flower. These cultivated bulbs only multiply by producing offsets so spread is slow and they are best focused in small areas of long grass.
The British native wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. lobularis is a delight once established. It has a tiny bulb for a narcissus, more like that of a snowdrop. So buy it now 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. Do not be tempted to plant too deeply. It will establish best in thin grass under the dappled shade of trees in well drained conditions. Do not be tempted to remove the faded flowers, instead allow the seed heads to develop and ripen. In early summer they change to parchment, split and release black seeds.
In pots and containers Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ takes some beating. The bulbs are great value so you can spread them around in pots on the patio, in the front of beds and borders and plant a few in pots to bring indoors in late winter. They respond to a little gentle forcing but are always best grown as cool as possible. I love to see them in pots on the patio adding a little sunshine between sky blue pansies and violas and also in small pots on my kitchen windowsill.
|Cheery Narcissus 'Pipit'|
Now I know this is really about narcissi – but I have to mention bluebells too. With the current interest in native flowers I know they will be a hot topic this autumn.