Early-flowering Narcissus, Daffodils

Most daffodils flower in March and April, but there are a few early-flowering Narcissus that I find indispensable.

Early flowering daffodils
Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. lobularis

Colours are muted in my winter garden, but just a few very special Narcissus, daffodils can make a bold splash of colour at a time when we really need it.

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s ‘Early Sensation’ lives up to its rather clumsy name. In this open sunny site it never fails to start flowering in December. This year the first flowers appeared just before Christmas and by the first week of January the display was effective. Because the weather is cool at this time of the year the display was pristine through to the end of February. By the end of the first week of March it was over. Admittedly in this location the foliage will need to stay until it fades in around six weeks, but in a garden setting this should not be a problem if the bulbs are planted within a wider mixture of plants.

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is not the most elegant daffodil, but it is bold and very weather resistant. Starting to flower a month or so later in February is a smaller, more refined daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus subsp. lobularis. Its yellow trumpets are surrounded by pale white petals and they too stay in flower for weeks on end. This wild species Narcissus sets viable seed and over time just a few small group of bulbs will enlarge, forming bold clumps; that is as long as you don’t destroy them by mowing adjacent grass to closely to the original group.

Narcissus cyclamineus 'February Gold'

Narcissus cyclamineaus ‘February Gold’ varies its actual time of flowering dependant upon the weather. Years ago I would complain it never flowered until well into March, but now, with generally warmer winters, it is often in flower in late January.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus var. lobularis

Narcissus cyclamineus ‘February Gold’ is slightly larger and taller-growing than N. pseudonarcissus subsp. lobularis and the two together makes an elegant pairing. Cyclamineus daffodils are characterised by their elegantly swept back petals that contrasts with those of the wild species nearby.