Narcissi

April is the peak of the daffodil season. I favour the smaller flowered, often scented narcissi over their large cupped relatives. I grow them through the borders, in our meadow area and in the pottager for cutting.

I have tried a number of different types in the meadow with varying degrees of success. ‘Jack Snipe’ is the first to flower and has proved reliable. It looks particularly good with the primroses and cowslips that flower at the same time.

The pure white ‘Thalia’ follows close behind as does my favourite ‘Segovia’, which has a small delicate flower but has proved surprisingly robust. I have also planted ‘Geranium’ and ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’ which do reappear but much prefer the richer conditions of the border. At the end of the season in early May comes Narcissus poeticus var recurvus which smells wonderful and holds it’s own quite comfortably in the growing meadow.

I grow ‘Segovia’ in the border too alongside the even more diminutive ‘Minnow’.

They combine well with Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’
with it’s pale yellow flowers held above the emerging bronze foliage. Two other border stalwarts are Actea, which is very similar to recurvus but flowers a month earlier and the
fabulously scented ‘Silver Chimes’. Both make excellent cut flowers too.

After a visit this week to ‘Cothele’ in Cornwall I have sought out a supplier of ‘Seagull’ a lovely old variety introduced in the early 1890s and still grown in the garden there as part of their historic collection. ‘Seagull and her step sister ‘White Lady’ also produced by the same breeder the Rev Engleheart, from Bath, will be top of my bulb order this autumn. Both have a delicate charm and understated elegance of a gentler age.