This is the small, early daffodil everyone loves. Its so popular that even though it's a miniature, it ranks a stunning No. 4 on the worldwide popularity list of all daffodils. (Right after the big champions like Dutch Master and Ice Follies.)
With strong stems popping up to only about 8 or 10', it is very close in form to the wild daffodil it was hybridized from, which is an important benefit to wildflower gardeners. Narcissus cyclamineus is a very famous wild species that was native to Spain and Portugal. It is thought to be extinct today, but we have several hybrids made from it, such as Tete a Tete. This daffodil is actually a cross between two like parents, thus the name, which means, literally 'Head to Head', and usually describes an intimate conversation.
Note the slightly 'swept back' petals which is what gave it its botanical name; it was thought to look like a cyclamen, which has similar petal structure. But the best part is the ease of adding Tete a Tete to your meadow. The bulbs are tiny, so planting is a snap. Plant them and forget them...until spring comes and they're popping up to greet you. You'll have them for years.
Naturalizing Daffodils. Probably nothing in the gardening world is more foolproof and more rewarding than 'naturalizing' daffodils. Because unlike most other garden flowers, these fantastic plants are super-easy to plant in fall, they don't care about soil, as long as it's well-drained, and they'll bloom beautifully for you with absolutely no work every spring after you plant them. Best of all, daffodils increase over the years, each bulb developing into a blooming clump. All you have to do is pick the spots. The one thing to remember is that you won't be able to mow that area until the tops die down. Everything else takes care of itself. In a new or established wildflower meadow, the wildflower plants grow up around the daffodils hiding the fading foliage, so there's no work to do. And if you're planting wildflower seed, what could be easier that to pop in the bulbs when you have the ground already turned?
About the Wild Daffodils. Like wild tulips which are more the size of crocus, most of the wild daffodils are tiny too. They're generally small wildflowers that have been hybridized by the Dutch into the big tall beauties we know today.
Unlike tulips which are native to Central Asia, daffodils are European wildflowers, native to areas of France, Spain and Portugal.
Holland is not the ancestral home of any bulb flowers. But it's the home of almost all the hybrids, since the Dutch hybridizers have not only created thousands of new flowers gardeners love, they've developed a huge national industry that supplies bulbs to gardeners worldwide.
To a wildgardener, of course, the original un-hybridized species (and their close hybrids) are all interesting, and even better, they're all dependably perennial. Plant them once, and they're there forever. Unlike the hybrids which develop bigger and bigger clumps each year, and have to be divided every few seasons for good bloom, the wild species simply spread, like they do in the wild. So there is absolutely no maintenance for the wild bulbs, once you get them established.
Here are the major wild species:
Narcissus poeticus recurvus