I tweeted this gorgeous Narcissus cantabricus (white hoop-petticoat daffodil) last week as it was such a joyous (and early) sight to behold. The cone shaped, slightly crimped petals have diminutive sepals dancing around their base and their delicate, wispy leaves highlight these showy little blooms (about 6inches high) to perfection. I glimpsed this arresting clump amongst the alpine planting at RHS Wisley (luckily on one of the drier days last week), but a little research has revealed that they’re a tad difficult to get a hold of. Annoying. Yellow versions of these bulbocodium daffodils, such as ‘conspicuus’ and ‘Golden Bells’, happily, seem much easier to buy.
Wisley don’t sell any N. cantabricus in their plant shop and Avon Bulbs don’t have them in their catalogue, but if they take your fancy, the very friendly Kevock Garden in Scotland will be stocking bulbs later in the year (from their new listings in April), so do get in touch with them and they’ll email you when the bulbs are for sale online again. They also have many other delightful and intriguing bulbs for sale, so definitely worth visiting their site. Kevock Garden, just south of Edinburgh, is open for group visits (and now definitely on my garden visiting list).
Other stunners in flower at Wisley were this delicate Rhododenron dauricum ‘Midwinter’,
this rich yellow Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Harry’,
with a very pleasing upright habit,
and this white Daphne ‘Spring Herald’, pumping out a deliciously strong, all-pervading winter perfume.
Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna has to be one of my all time favourite scents though, and I think the more pointed leaves and softer tone of green (and slightly messier shape) just wins out over a Sarcococca confusa.
Finally, as the light was fading, even the car park had its own wow factor (Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ flaming away here). RHS Wisley-always worth a visit.