I am so excited - the boxes of bulbs have started arriving, marking the end of the fresh flower season and the time to prepare for next year. Tulips can wait a while, but narcissi need to get into the soil as soon as possible. I don't grow many narcissi - large scale bulb growers harvest their narcissi flowers and sell them below cost, so people have become used to the idea that they should be cheap flowers. The two narcissi that I do grow are Narcissi Geranium - a scented tazzetta with an 8 day vase life and great resistance to bad weather - and Pheasant's Eye Narcissi - late blooming, pure white with an elegant deep orange trumpet.
So today I have been pulling out the spent sunflower haulms - some of the stems were 8 " across - beefing up the soil a bit with some horse manure - and then putting in the narcissi to line the main path. Mice and deer are meant to dislike narcissi bulbs as they are poisonous - perhaps a stout line of them at the edge of the raised beds will protect the tulips further back.