This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
I know it is very early to be thinking about Spring bulbs for 2021 but the one thing that the 2020 lockdown has taught so many of us is to appreciate our outside spaces. So when this video, Sarah’s Narcissi Varieties, popped into my inbox this weekend I found myself absorbed and learning so much about these different varieties of Narcissi (Daffodils to me). Apparently all daffodils are members of the genus Narcissus. In other words, daffodil is the official common name for ANY of the plants that fall into the genus Narcissus. So, if the plant is considered a Narcissus, it also is considered a daffodil as well.
Narcissus – or daffodils – are very tolerant bulbs and we should all grow plenty of them. They should be planted end of September, early October hence I am giving everyone the heads up to get organised and order your bulbs NOW. They give a great performance early in the year and if you choose carefully you can have colour in your garden and highly scented flowers to pick from early March. Unlike many tulips, these get better, and the groups bigger and stronger year after year. You can’t go wrong.
The other wonderful thing about these flowers is that even if you don’t have a garden you can plant the bulbs in pots and look forward to some bright colour and, in some cases, fragrance, after a long winter.
I even discovered that there is a repeat flowering variety, Avalanche, that would be lovely planted in a pot near to your front door, welcoming the Spring and all your visitors. It flowers for at least two months, March & April and seems to like any and all conditions of sun and soil so would appear to be quite hardy.
Every stem divides at the top into six or seven thinner stems, each one topped with a miniature daffodil flower with ivory petals and a primrose yellow perianth (the trumpet bit in the middle). It’s six or seven flowers for most, but some have a few stems with ten and eleven individual flowers. You only need a handful of stems to fill a vase and they’ll fill any room with their scent and even if you pick them with their flowers already open, will last over a week in water. The only rule is, don’t have all their stems at the same length. Have some picked quite short, with others almost twice that height. Then they look pretty and natural – as they should – just picked, not from the supermarket, but the garden.
Narcissus ‘Minnow’ is a dwarf variety of narcissi with flat pale yellow cups and a wondrous scent.
It is a charming daffodil which produces up to five small, creamy yellow flowers per stem. Clumps will quickly build in size and it makes an excellent flower.
The classic Narcissus is the bright yellow Tête-à-tête, that we see so many of in the Spring planted along the side of our roads. They are excellent value, miniature, easy to grow, live-forever narcissi which wins bulb of the year again and again.
The one that I find most hilarious is ‘Rip van Winkle’. An extraordinary, yet beautiful dwarf daffodil, with highly cut petals like a child’s home-made tissue paper star. It’s invaluably early to flower with pretty buds flushed with green.
Cliveden House, which is owned by the National Trust, has planted many varieties of Narcissi and welcomes visitors to walk The Daffodil Trail in the Spring.
In the video below Sarah Raven selects her favourite Narcissi. She gives some planting advice and picking tips so that they retain their shape in a vase. Now is the time to order Narcissi bulbs for delivery at the end of September.
Sarah Raven has a wide variety available to order, just click HERE.