Lets call it a pre-Post

I’m supposed to be doing that promised final post on meadows.  But I want to shoot off on a short tangent just cos its current, and if I don’t do it now the moment will have passed.

The miniature daffodil Narcissus ‘Tete a tete’ is in flower in my lawn right now, and has been for…maybe two weeks.  This is its second season in an experimental planting.  The grass is pretty robust, and I wanted to see if it would cope.

I wasn’t interested in a full size daff.  With the grass as short as it is this time of year, I’d need huge blocks of a large daff to not float self-consciously above the surrounds, and I couldn’t afford that many.  This sits just above grass level.  So far so good.

It’s curious just how much this miniature varies in height.  Elsewhere in the garden its both much taller and much shorter.  There’s probably either a difference in soil conditions, or in light conditions, or both.

The plants in the grass average about 250mm in height.  The plants in poorish soil that get full sun nearly all day are 150-200mm in height (below left).  And the plants that are shaded by the house from about 2pm for the rest of the day are between 250-550mm (middle).

Dang.  Those images don’t show the difference as well as I’d hoped.

I wish we could get more of these miniatures at a decent price in Australia.  The forms available vary a bit, but currently it’s pretty much down to ‘Tete a tete’, and an orange trumpet form named ‘Jetfire’ (right). I’m never that enthusiastic about the idea of the orange, but when it comes out at the end of a colourless winter, I’m always pleased to see it.

We used to be able to get a fabulous creamy form named ‘Jenny’, but it’s at least a decade since I’ve seen it at a price that would allow you to plant it en masse.


  1. Really? Jenny? Someone worked up their own new variety and only managed to come up with ‘Jenny’? Maybe they could have not been so outrageously poetic and emotional and gone with ‘Wife’ or ‘My Mother’s Name’ or even ‘Female Cohabiter’. Still, I’m sure you’ve come across worse named varieties, Michael.

    1. I like to think they were being ironic, as I do the breeders of my favourite white tulip – ‘Maureen’, though if they’d chosen one of your suggestions we could at least have shared the joke.

  2. I know this comment is of a technical nature but so much of our garden delight is dependent on the performance of our plants. A bulbs performance is dependent on last years growing conditions. If spring advances too quickly with 30 degree days in September or the very localised growing conditions are too hot the a bulb will be forced into dormancy before it has had the time to accumulate energy for next years flowering. That is one of the reasons why tulips are difficult here. In grass, of course, the bulbs have to compete and the grass may out grow and shade the bulbs too early.

    1. The last point you make is also the reason why it’s best for us to grow the earliest flowering bulbs (that’s earliest in winter/spring), so they can complete as much of their life-cycle as possible before the grass growth gets really fierce. Hopeless, of course, for those in climates where the grass never stops growing in winter..

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