Narcissus burst into bloom: ‘Little Stuff’, bulbocodium ‘Early Bird’, ‘Snipe’ and ‘Userpa’

Narcissus ‘Little Stuff’ is a cheerful, orange nosed miniature daffodil that is new to me this year. It was bred by the late New Zealander, Peter Ramsey. I can testify to its hardiness having twice survived being knocked off my shelving, first when the clay pot disintegrated in my hand and second due to my clumsiness. The corona truly is as richly coloured as the image. Beautiful. I wish I had bought more than three.

Narcissus ‘Little Stuff’

Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Early Bird’ is a miniature all right though somewhat larger than ‘Lemon Flare’ featured recently. I loved these hoop petticoats when I first spotted them at RHS Wisley’s alpine house. Perhaps my regard has waned slightly in favour of the miniature cyclamineus varieties – see below – though this particular variety looks vigorous to my eyes and I believe they look better in clumps, though I photographed the first to bloom. The miniature was bred in Worcestershire by the writer and breeder, Michael Jefferson-Brown.

Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Early Bird’

So to those cyclamineus varieties. Smallest first, in fact one with the same diminutive frame as the species. Narcissus ‘Snipe’, not to be confused with ‘Jack Snipe’, has the same corona as Cyclamineus and the same reflexed petals except they are cream. A charmer. A smidgen larger than the species come to think. I’ll plant them side by side for next season.

Narcissus ‘Snipe’

I’ll conclude my parade of early miniature narcissus with one I’ve covered before. Half as big again as ‘Snipe’, which means tiny, is one I’ve featured before from Matt Bishop, he of the glorious if pricey snowdrops and encyclopedic knowledge of his subject. I doubt whether ‘Userpa’ is registered and certainly it was an impulse buy added to a snowdrop order but it has been dependable up until last year when it broke down into several grass like shoots, fleshing out this season to five or six flowering buds, of which this flower is in the vanguard. Theme: don’t give up. Plants are worth persevering with. For this year think ‘Green Tear’, last year a shoot, this year a thin shoot with a flower. Snowdrops and all plants sulk some years.

Narcissus ‘Userpa’

Narcissus cyclamineus "Userpa"

I bought this lovely miniature narcissus from Matt Bishop when purchasing snowdrops. Narcissus cyclamineus “Userpa” was an impulse buy but has justified the modest outlay although it is very like “Mite” available at one third the cost. The difference is that it is about a third larger in every respect save for the foliage, which is altogether larger. Matt says the bulb is vigorous so it will be interesting to see how it compares with its more petite cousin. “Userpa” is a striking flower, its bold trumpet and reflexed petals prominent.