November is a very good month for planting daffodils and narcissus in the garden.
If you are like us you wait until the summer plants have been frosted because there aren’t any vacant spots to plant the bulbs until then.
They are good value for money and if the job is done well you should enjoy seeing the flowers in spring for a number of years to come... if you can leave them in an area where they will naturalise.
If bulbs are taken out of the ground and allowed to dry during the summer, the blooms will not be so good the following year and if the practice continues, eventually you’ll have no flowers at all.
Daffodils and narcissus are not fussy. Find a spot which has lots of light for most of the day although partial shade will not be a problem.
If you regularly read my gardening features in The News you will know I rarely recommend mixed planting. This is certainly something I would avoid when choosing bulbs.
If you plant mixed, they are cheaper of course, butthe problem is the early flowers die off leaving all the dead blooms behind. You then have the main show of blooms spoiled by the dead flowers and, when the later ones appear, the whole effect is ruined by the brown flowers of all the others.
So, what would I recommend?
Select bulbs which have names. Look out for Rembrandt as one of the boldest daffodils and plant another variety next to it.
See if you can find Sempre Avanti which is a wonderful narcissus. It has white petals with an orange circular centre.
If you enjoy fragrance, look for the multi-flowered narcissus called Geranium which is a real beauty with thick stems which are wind-resistant. The flowers come in clusters of four or five white petals with orange centres. I adore the orange trumpets on narcissus Jetfire.
The idea is to drift one variety into the next. This means buying 10 of each, but if you have a large area to plant, buy as many of each as you can afford.
Label the groups so you can compare results and you will be able to impress your friends when they come to enjoy your lovely spring drifts.
Think carefully if you decide to plants daffs in the grass. Remember you will have to mow around the groups once the flowers have faded and this can make the garden look a bit depressing with a kind of hay crop in parts of the lawn until the daffs have completely died away. This will be about the beginning of June. Snowdrops and crocus are better in the grass as the foliage dies down quicker.
Bulbs look superb in the centre of flower borders, if they are in the central areas.
It gives you the chance to plant summer flowers around the dying foliage.
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Even if you don’t have a garden, narcissus bulbs can be planted in pots right now.
Don’t think about forcing them. Pot them five in a five-inch diameter pot. Moisten the compost and leave them outside in the open.
They will flower in early spring next year.