The nicest narcissi

“Thalia” works well with pinks such as these Tulipa Margarita.

“Thalia” works well with pinks such as these Tulipa Margarita.

March is the month when daffodils really come into their own and look wonderful planted en masse, especially around the base of mature trees. You can extend the daffodil season, however, by introducing different varieties so as to enjoy golden yellow or white blooms from February right through to April.

Daffodils are all members of the narcissi species. One of the earliest to bloom is the reliable “Tete a Tete”, a miniature variety often with two or three flowerheads on the same stem. It’s a great one for spreading throughout a border, as it’s very small but really makes an impact when planted in dozens. Other lovely early cultivars are “Minnow” and “February Gold”

If you don’t particularly like yellow but still want daffodils in spring, you could try Narcissus “Thalia” – the flowers are a traditional shape but are a lovely clean white. This particular cultivar is one of my favourites and I use it a lot in planting plans – it’s very reliable and has the most elegant shape and habit of any narcissus I know.

For something a little different, consider trying some double varieties. Many of these are scented and are brilliant for cutting, as well as displaying some beautiful petal combinations. “Bridal Crown” and “Cheerfulness” are widely available doubles and one of the best has to be “Sir Winston Churchill”, an orange – splashed double with a particularly sweet fragrance. I’d be inclined to plant your doubles in a sheltered spot – many have long stems in proportion to the flowerheads and some support can be useful, even if it’s just a few twiggy sticks. If you plant them in pots near doorways, you can appreciate the lovely scent easily without venturing too far outdoors.

To extend the flowering season of narcissi to its limit you’ll need to include the Pheasant’s Eye narcissus, Narcissus poeticus, the latest of all to flower. A dainty bloom, this one is good for naturalising in grass and including in a wild flower meadow planting. Flowers are pure white with red and yellow cups in the centre, and as well as a poetic name, it has a beautiful scent.

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