Top Ten Miniature Daffodils and Narcissus

Miniature Daffodils and Narcissus are easy to grow with these simple tips that includes a top ten variety list.
Miniature daffodils grow from 4 inches to just short of a foot. Varieties Minnow, Toto and Canaliculatus have several flowers on the one stem and are particular favourites of mine. Try growing some in pots in the cold greenhouse or as welcome additions to your alpine plants.

Daffodil selection

Top Ten Selection

  1. Little Beauty 5″ with white perianth and yellow corona
  2. Rip Van Winkle
  3. Sun Disc a consistent bulb with round disc shaped yellow flower.
  4. Hawera with reflex bachward pointing petals
  5. Petrel has several ivory-white hanging flowers per stem.
  6. Segovia -with a white perianth contrasted by a neat lemon cup
  7. Snipe A classic 5″ tall white cyclamineus type with a green tinge.
  8. Baby Moon late flowering and scented jonquilla type.
  9. Baby Doll with pink cups and a nice scent.
  10. La Belle with yellow flowers and shallow coronas in orange-yellow with a distinct reddish-orange rim

Daffodils are organised into groups and classes called divisions. Read more about Daffodil divisions that encompass miniature daffodils and narcissus varieties.

miniature daffodil

Tips on Miniature Daffodil and Narcissus

  • Look in spring for successful varieties that you may want to buy for planting this Autumn.
  • Buy pots in bloom this spring so you know what you are getting. Deadhead before the seedheads start to develop and feed the bulbs with a high phosphate feed.
  • One of the smaller varieties is Bulbocodium Conspicuous, yellow hooped petticoat at 4 inches tall with golden yellow flowers.
  • The scented Jonquilla has a couple of varieties that are low growing including Jonquil Single, Sugarbush and the ivory white flowered apricot cup of Waterperry.
  • Cyclamineus varieties tend to be low growing. One of the most popular is the Tete-a-Tete with fluted golden trumpets which bulks up quite well year on year.
  • For something different try the double Rip Van Winkle or the pinky yellow Nanus.
  • Place your order from a reputable bulb supplier during summer so that you get the varieties you want before the best bulbs are sold out. The best time to plant miniature daffodils is from September until mid October. They like to make long roots before flowering and fully produce their leaves first. .

Try growing Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’ commonly called the Hoop Petticoat Daffodil! Bulbs from Thompson & Morgan

Cyclamineus – Div 6 are eye-catching daffodils with reflex petals.
Triandrus Daffodils – Div 5 are a result of breeding from the species N.triandrus. There are mid flowering height and usually 2 to 5 delightful hanging flowers per stem. Available from the Miniature Bulb Co
The Daffodil Society has a list of other bulb suppliers


Tips for Growing Runner Beans

Runner bean

Runner Beans are an excellent vegetable to grow. Homegrown varieties are often more succulent and tasty than supermarket varieties. Runner Beans also provide an attractive focal point for any kitchen garden. In fact you could easily grow Runner Beans within a cottage garden. Once established they can grow very rapidly and are mainly resilient to pests and dieseases.

  1. Choose a site in full sun.
  2. Prepare the soil well with organic matter which will help retain moisture and feed the fast growing plants.
  3. The plants will need good support, preferably using 6 feet canes. They are best grown together – either in a wigwam effect or in a horizontal line.
  4. Once in flower keep well watered. If they are not watered sufficiently they will not pollintate and grow the bean.
  5. They will benefit from tomato feed when the beans are forming and growing. Continue Reading →

Five Senses For Gardeners

golden acre gardens leeds

If we are lucky to have a full complement of all five senses we are fortunate gardeners. At different times of our life these senses may wax and wain, I for one can no longer read the small print on seed packets nor hear my wife when she asks me to do something other than gardening.

Gardeners would garden just for the sheer pleasure but they also want to take into account and compensate for those with impaired senses. Here are some suggestions to help focus on the five senses one at a time but the pleasure is doubled by combining plants that augment all the senses. I you have focal points for viewing what do you call points for touching, smelling, hearing and tasting?

Himalayan garden Grewelthorpe 144

Five Senses – Sight

  • Bold colours spring to mind and one favourite is the brash Sunflower but in the veg garden Swiss Chard ‘traffic Lights’ is most colourful
  • Different shapes and contrasting leaves can be added via Heuchera or Hostas. Ornaments and statues are good for creating focal points.
  • White and yellow flowers start in spring with Snowdrops and Daffodils and continue through a variety of annuals and perennials. I suggest a range of Marigolds and Roses will give pleasure.
  • Birds and butterflies are natural sights in a well balance garden

Himalayan garden Grewelthorpe 152

Five Senses – Sound

  • Close your eyes and listen to your garden. Birds and insects add a vibrancy to your garden so attract them with appropriate plants.
  • Trees with open canopies like birch and beech are great rustlers in a breeze.
  • Bamboos sway in the breeze and if you can stand the added noise make a wind chime from the dried hollow stems.
  • If you have running water so much the better. I saw a deer scarer run by solar power in a garden this week.

Lincoln 088

Five Senses – Touch

  • Use pathways and lawn edges for the plants you most want to touch and hide away the spiky and prickly devils.
  • Textured leaves like the hairy Lambs tails or Silver Sage are very touchable.
  • Flowering grasses are airy and good for running your hands through.
  • Again an appropriate statue can be stroked and petted.

alpine strawberry

Five Senses – Taste

  • Herbs and vegetable come out strongly in the taste sense. Who would be without strawberries some varieties of which can now be grown in hanging baskets or containers.
  • Mint, Rosemary and Lavender are old fashioned stand-byes for strong taste and the plus of scent.
  • Members of the onion family including chives garlic and shallots have there own appeal.

indian pink

Five Senses – Smell

  • Sweet smelling garden Pinks and Chocolate Cosmos attract more garden visitors than you would imagine.
  • Sweet Peas are my all time favourite and you can pick bunches for indoors throughout the flowering season.
  • Over breeding has reduced the scent of some plants so smell before you buy at your local nursery or scrounge plants from other gardeners where you know the pedigree of the smell.

Sixth Sense

  • This plant was expensive so it will die
  • This nice plant will turn out to be a weed
  • The weather is going to get better
  • The bugs will eat my best veg

Growing Bellis perennis Pom Pom Daisies

Bellis perennis

Cultivation and Growing Tips for Pompom Daisies

  • Bellis perennis is the name of the small common daisy found in great profusion growing in lawns. Pom Pom Daisy is the cultivated double daisy that makes a good spring flowering ornamental plant.
  • Grow from seed sown in late spring/early summer outdoors in a sheltered, shady site in a well prepared seed bed about ┬╝in deep.
  • Germination usually takes 14-21 days.
  • Thin seedlings out to 4-6in apart when they are large enough to handle and finally transplant to flowering site in autumn in sun or part shade for flowering the following spring.
  • Bellis perenis Pom Poms are great for small beds, edging, windowboxes etc.
  • Greenfly love to eat the tender leaves so keep an eye open in case you need to treat the plants

Bellis perennis

Common Names and Varieties of Pom Poms to Consider

  • Pompom daisies are available in red, pink and white. You can buy them as self colours or in mixed packets of seed
  • ‘Tasso Mixed’ is one of the best pomponette bellis ever introduced! Flowers are larger than normal pom – pom types, on compact, short, strong flower stems. The bright colours of rose, deep rose, red and white, will all give excellent results
  • ‘Petite Pom Pom’ and ‘Pomponette’ have rosettes of mid-green leaves with narrow stems topped with pink, dark pink and white pompons from early spring to autumn.

Old & Odd Tips From Gardeners Tips

  • Pom Pom daisies look good in containers, rockeries and paired with Tulips.
  • Deadheading will prolong flowering or leave to seed and collect for next season.
  • Will grow in some shade and withstand an open windy position
  • You can often obtain seeds or plants from our mail order company of choice Thompson & Morgan
  • Lincoln 119

    Buy more varieties of Daisies at Thompson & Morgan


    Tips for Growing Forget-Me-Nots

    Lincoln 120

    Forget-me-not Cultivation and Growing Tips

    • These plants are very easy to grow from seed. Sow one year and they flower the next because most varieties are biennials.
    • Forget-me-nots are usually blue but are also found in pink and white and shades of blue.
    • Forget-me-nots are dwarf, compact plants upto a foot tall! A fantastic addition to spring beds and borders.
    • The plants complement golden Daffodils yellow Wallflowers and Primulas.
    • Sow May -June and thin out. Plants self sow all over my garden so clear out any invaders.
    • Plants can also be purchase to avoid the problems of sowing your own.
    • Naturalised flowers become less spectacular – renew with seed every few years. Try a stronger strain.


    Forget-me-not Common Names and Varieties to Consider

    • Myosotis is the Latin name for Forget-me-nots. It is a family of 50 species. See main varieties at the foot of this page
    • Historically it got the name ‘mouse ears’ due to the shape of its leaves.
    • Varieties to look out for include Ultramarine and Blue ball or for Alpine Forget-me-nots ‘Ruth Fisher’.

    Unusual Facts about Forget-me-nots

    • Newfoundland in Canada used the Forget-me-not as a symbol of remembrance of that nation’s war dead.
    • Germans and Freemasons use forget-me-nots as a symbol not to forget the poor and desperate. (Germany may need a good crop with the economy in such a state.)

    Old & Odd Tips From Gardeners Tips on Forget-me-nots

    • Plant in drifts around the edge of ponds.
    • Pull up and compost plants as they finish flowering – you will still get lots of seedlings.
    • Use forget-me-nots as a cut flower when in bud to prolong vase life.

    Dandelion and Forget-me-nots (1)

    Horticultural Sources and Advice on Forget-me-not

    • You can often obtain seeds or plants from our mail order company of choice Thompson & Morgan
    • Powdery mildew can be a problem in dry soil. Pull up and destroy infected plants.
    • Species include; Myosotis alpestris – Alpine Forget-me-not
      Myosotis arvensis – Field Forget-me-not
      Myosotis asiatica – Asiatic Forget-me-not
      Myosotis azorica – Azores Forget-me-not
      Myosotis caespitosa – Tufted Forget-me-not
      Myosotis discolor – Changing Forget-me-not
      Myosotis latifolia – Broadleaf Forget-me-not
      Myosotis laxa – Tufted Forget-me-not, Bay Forget-me-not
      Myosotis scorpioides – True Forget-me-not
      Myosotis secunda – Creeping Forget-me-not
      Myosotis sicula – Jersey Forget-me-not
      Myosotis sylvatica – Wood Forget-me-not
      Myosotis verna – Spring Forget-me-not

    Flowers from my granny's garden
    forget-me-nots by Mags CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    Dandelion and Forget-me-nots (1) by Purrrpl_Haze CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Flowers from my granny’s garden by sermoa CC BY-SA 2.0


    Tips Growing Globeflower

    Trollius europaeus 'Superbus' Globeflower

    Description, Cultivation and Growing Tips for Globeflower

    • Globeflower is a herbaceous perennial plant that generally flowers yellow in spring or early summer.
    • They are another meadowland plant closely related to the buttercup but flower 1-3 feet tall depending on variety.
    • Globeflowers are easy to grow, disease resistant and good for cutting.
    • Keep the soil moist, they like a boggy soil that isn’t too wet in winter.
    • Mulch with an organic compost in winter to protect the roots.
    • Plants will grow and flower in partial shade.


    Common Names and Varieties of Globeflower

    • Globeflower is the common name for Trollius which is a family of around 20 species and many hybrids and cultivars.
    • The petals of Trollius europaeus are curved over the top of the flower to appear like a ball or spherical globe giving the plant its common name.
    • Many of the other species such as Trollius chinensis have more open, flatter flowers. Golden Queen is a variety with prominent stamens that form a crown on the head of each flower. It grows taller than most varieties and the flowers can be 2-3 inches across.
    • Trollius europeaeus ‘Superbus’ has an AGM and is readily available.
    • Lemon Queen, Fireglobe and Canary bird are descriptive varieties for growing.

    Trollius chinensis 'Golden Queen' Globeflower

    Unusual Facts about Globeflower

    • All Globeflowers and Trollius species are poisonous to cattle and other livestock but not butterflies which thrive on the leaves.
    • The globe is formed by the inward curve of the sepals and there are no true petals.
    • Pale yellow flowering Alabaster tones well with Lobelia cardinalis which also enjoys a wet soil

    Old & Odd Tips From Gardeners Tips – Globeflower

    • Collect the seed from your own plants and sow immediately whilst the seed is fresh.
    • In our experience the plants do not transplant easily. Sow seed where you want them to flower.

    Globe Flower, Die Trollblume, Trollius europaeus

    Horticultural Sources and Advice

    • Globeflower are slow clump formers with a mass of fibrous roots.
    • You can often obtain seeds or plants from our mail order company of choice Thompson & Morgan
    • Hybrids of Globeflowers are labeled Trollius x cultorum and are probably crosses between three species: Trollius europaeus, Trollius asiaticus and Trollius chinensis.

    Maj 2005
    Trollius europaeus ‘Superbus’ Globeflower and Trollius chinensis ‘Golden Queen’ Globeflower by KingsbraeGarden CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    Trollblumen by vasile23 CC BY 2.0
    Globe Flower, Die Trollblume, Trollius europaeus by Dandelion And Burdock CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    Maj 2005 by Isfugl,CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


    Prevention and Cure for Caterpillar Damage

    If you want to see butterflys and moths be prepared for caterpillars.

    Butterflies are nice in the garden but caterpillars can cause havoc. Brassicas like Cabbages, Brussel Sprouts, and Broccoli are particularly prone to attack from Cabbage White caterpillars as you can see from my veg plot above.

    Prevention and Cure for Caterpillar Damage

    • Encourage the caterpillar’s natural enemies, such as wasps and birds for an environmentally sound and least cost method of dealing with caterpillar problems.
    • Picking off caterpillars one by one together with any eggs is satisfying but a bit tedious if you have a lot of plants.
    • Spray with soft soapy water and drop any caterpillars you have picked into soap water.
    • I could have used a systemic insecticide if the EU allows and I wanted food with a residue of chemicals but that was not for me.
    • A contact insecticide relies on hitting the creatures before they have done the damage and is still chemically based.
    • Netting the brassicas would be a sensible prevention measure. I do that to prevent pigeons eating the young plants.
    • Buy a biological control like Trichogramma wasps.They will act as parasites on the caterpillars.
    • Accept that you will get some damage for the joy you get from buttterflies.

    Caterpillar 1 enlarged

    Reasons to Look After Caterpillars

    • Caterpillars are an important part of the ecological mix. When they mature they help pollination provide food for wild l;ife and play an important part in the natural life cycle.
    • Caterpillars turn into wild butterflies and moths.
    • Carterpillars provide loads and loads of food for small birds and other creatures further up the food chain.
    • Ask any small child who has been captivated by caterpillars.


    Caterpillar 1 enlarged by Loco Steve CC BY 2.0
    caterpillar by squeakychu CC BY-NC 2.0


    Autumn Annuals for Late Colour

    Mixed Annuals

    As summer turns towards autumn you may be looking forward to a bold splash of colour from your late flowering annuals. To blanket the ground you can use a mass planting of easy to grow annuals with long flowering characteristics. Below we offer a list of top ten annuals to consider but there are many varieties and species that fit the bill.

    Autumn Annual Bed

    • Plan where you are going to plant your annuals for autumn flowering. Consider height, colour and shape of the plants in your selection. Plan low at the front and contrasting colours in opposition
    • Improve the soil with compost dug in to improve water retention.
    • Rake the top soil smooth and mark out a plan of what you want to grow where.
    • Individual potted or plug plants can be set 3-4inches apart.
    • Some plants you can grow from scattered seed to fill the gaps. They may need thinning later.


    Plant Varieties for Autumn Annuals

    • Low growers to consider include the white Sweet Allysum ‘Little Dorrit’, Tagetes tennufoila ‘Tangerine Gem’ and Viola ‘Maxim Marina’ light blue with dark faces.
    • Zinnias can be free sown and a good mixed packet will flower in red, orange, yellow, pink and cream.
    • Wax begonias semperflorens is a popular low grower that will stand a bit of shade if necessary.
    • I like African Marigolds a big double flower in yellow or orange. French Marigolds are smaller but intensely coloured and will go on flowering until the first frost.
    • Cineraria senecio is a plant grown for it’s light grey- silver finely cut leaves.
    • For mid height and airy foliage try Cosmos ‘Sonata white’ or Mexican sunflowers.
    • If you have some form of support for climbers there are several annuals that work hard to give you a good display including; Ipomea alba or ‘Cardinal’, Mirablis jalapa, Lablab purpureus and the cup and saucer vine Cobaea scandens.
    • I am already over the ten plants and you probably only need 5 varieties repeating in a pattern. However the best value seeds are often from the annual Dahlias which flower for fun.

    2008-07-08 Mohave Autumn Bronze - Bracteantha

    Photo Credits
    Mixed Annuals by dbkfrog CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    “2008-07-08 Mohave Autumn Bronze – Bracteantha by rosepetal236 and 2008-07-08 Colorado State University Annual Flower Trial Garden by rosepetal236 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    2008-07-08 Colorado State University Annual Flower Trial Garden

    Footnotes for Autumn Annuals

    Some plants may last more than one season but I recommend treating all these plants as annuals.
    Collect the seed in autumn if you want to grow then again and compost the old plants.
    Deadhead and pick for indoor use to encourage even more flowers.
    In the UK plant in early June to give your annuals chance to develop good roots.


    How Old Are Your Plants in Geological Epochs

    A Yew tree in Somerset is said to be dying after 4000 years. The rumour may be overstated for tourism reasons as Taxus Yews can regenerate like Doctor Who.

    Lepidodendron fossil

    Geological Epochs and a view of Plant Age.

    • Some would argue that 3,100 million years have elapsed since the first bacteria (and cynobacteria) inhabited our planet but plants are not quite that old.
    • Algae started in the sea in the Pre-cambrian era when the first animal fossils can be dated. (1,500 million years)
    • Through the Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago, marine life including sponges and algae were developing until the invasion of land plants in the Silurian times 440 million years ago.
    • Herbaceous ferns, horsetails and the first vascular plants developed on through the Devonian period.
    • Around 300 million years ago ferns were dominant but tall swamp forests, conifers and Cycads were joined by the other gymnosperms.
    • The Triassic and Jurasic periods (130-250 my ago) were still flower free as most angiosperms developed during the Cretaceous and Tertiary period only 65 million years ago! This was at the time when birds, bees, moths and early mammals were developing.

    Fossilised part of a giant clubmoss or lycopod tree, Stigmaria ficiodes, GL1239

    Focus on Angiosperms Old Flowering Plants

    • Fossil evidence is available for some ferns and the dinosaurs of the plant kingdom.
    • The study of ancient pollen has shown that 49 present day families of plants were represented in rocks 100-200 million years old.
    • Angiosperms represented 85% of the Earths vegetation as they supplanted the then dominance of the slower to adapt gymnosperms.
    • As humans and mammals have a range of life expectancy so do flowering plants. For simplicity gardeners classify these life cycles into perennials, annuals, biennials and ephemerals (several generations from seed in one year like groundsel).

    Fossil forest Lulworth Cove Dorset

    Some Old Plants

    • Russians have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago. This is the oldest plant material by far to have been brought to life read more on BBC 20.2.12
    • European Yews or Taxus baccata in Tisbury and Llangernyw Wales are believed to be over 4000 years old.
    • Great Basin Bristlecone pine Pinus longaeva in USA is circa 4800 years old and several Sequoia in California are over 3000 years old.
    • I wouldn’t want to count the rings on these trees but even with their great age they are just specs in the geological time frames we have been considering.

    Photo and Other Credits

    Lepidodendron fossil by Museum Girl ROM, CC BY 2.0 (Lepidodendron is an extinct genus of primitive tree-like plant. They were the first large land plants, and a major part of the coal forest tropical flora.)
    Fossilised part of a giant clubmoss or lycopod tree, Stigmaria ficiodes, GL1239 by Black Country Museums …Part of a fossil lycopod tree called Stigmaria ficoides which is approximatley 310 million years old.CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    Fossil forest Lulworth Cove Dorset by lovestruck … The Fossil Forest at Lulworth Cove Dorset . The round large fossils are fossilised rings of algae that grew around tree trunks as the forest, that covered the whole area, was flooded nearly 150 million years ago by the rising sea levels. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


    Growing Iris Confusa

    Bamboo iris (Iris confusa)

    Iris confusa is a delicate iris from south-central or Western China. The photograph above shows Iris confusa in the temperate house at Kew where the flowers pay closer inspection.

    Description of Iris Confusa

    Iris confusa is an evergreen, upright perennial with fans of mid-green, sword-like leaves.
    The plant’s broad, shiny leaves are attached to the ends of bamboo-like stems up to 2 feet long.
    The bamboo-like stems will eventually lie flat and root, thus forming good clumps.

    Iris Confusa

    Iris confusa Flowers

    The Iris confusa flower in spring and early summer April – June.
    Each flower is lavender to pale blue or near white with yellow or purple spots.
    Iris confusa ‘Martyn Rix’ is a popular variety of Crested Iris with white flowers, yellow crests and purple dots on the falls.

    Bamboo iris (Iris confusa)

    Photo Credits

    Bamboo iris (Iris confusa) by Kew on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    Iris Confusa by Just chaos CC BY 2.0
    Google images for Iris confusa (and odd Iris)


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