The most significant improvement I have made to the early Spring borders this year has been the addition of clumps of narcissus cyclamineus. They are simply wonderful, bright yellow and impervious to the strong winds that have been a feature of the last three days. The shape of the flowers looks designed for the wind tunnel. Cyclamineus are species narcissus thriving in damp but not waterlogged conditions, not something that comes easily to our light, sandy soil. So I’ve banked up the contents from the compost bins and it seems to have worked. Picking out a few weeds this afternoon I was aware of the number of earthworms, always a good sign. I never dig over this area of the garden. I bought the bulbs from the Stamford, Lincolnshire, Twelve Nuns Nursery, another wonderful source of plants and arguably a business that takes packaging into art form territory. You’ll notice this if you read two posts from February 2016 when I ordered the plants after visiting the stupendous Saville Gardens and then receiving the new plants. The 2020 version of packing was equally as fabulous. I’ve bought many hellebores from them over the years.
Narcissus ‘The Englander’ is a hybrid miniature introduced by the late founder of the excellent and second featured Lincolnshire business, Pottertons Nurseries, specialising particularly in alpines. (Four outstanding nurseries recommended in successive days.) The bulb was introduced in 1992. Clearly it is a seedling of cyclamineus. It does not possess the relexed petals of the parent or quite the splayed, frilled corona and it is, say, half as tall again though still definitely a miniature. To give an idea of perspective I have included a photograph of a group beside some late flowering snowdrops and another attractive miniature ‘Camborne’.