As they say, size is important and small can be extremely beautiful, as a handful of tiny bulbs has proved.

Christmas was not the ideal time to receive an envelope of wizened diminutive bulbs but the dwarf narcissus, which should be planted in autumn, have beautifully triumphed against the odds and the prolific wet weather gods.

As it turned out the bulbs were not as described. They were not a Golden Dawn but a variety of narcissus Canaliculatus.

But no matter. To my mind most daffs are delightful, especially the minis, but excepting the mopheads and salmon pinks, which will always look so wrong to me.

Isle of Wight County Press: Narcissus bring early spring colour.Narcissus bring early spring colour. (Image: Richard Wright.)

This week's Isle of Wight gardening tips

  • Trim lavender plants, cutting off old flower heads and about an inch of the current year's growth.
  • Harden off half-hardy plants by leaving them outside during the day and bringing them back under cover at night for a week before planting outdoors.
  • Plant summer hanging baskets, adding good-quality compost, slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining crystals, to keep them in top condition.
  • Start planting out summer bedding plants towards the end of this month.
  • Continue dividing herbaceous border perennials to improve vigour and create new plants.
  • Divide established clumps of hostas as they come into growth.
  • Trim back spreading plants such as aubrieta, alyssum and candytuft after they’ve flowered, to encourage fresh new growth and more blooms.
  • Lift forget-me-nots to prevent heavy self-seeding and reduce spreading.
  • Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs.

Canaliculatus, it turns out, is a lovely simple miniature white-flowered, yellow-cupped variety.

Dwarfs are an especially popular choice for containers. Lifted off the ground they are more prominent, but they can also be planted at the front of a border where they will naturalise well.

Canaliculatus also has a faint fragrance and will grow in a sunny, or partially shaded well-drained site to a maximum height of only nine inches, or so.

Before planting, grub out any weeds in the area and dig to loosen and aerate the soil and fork in some organic matter.

Plant each at least double the bulb’s height and twice their width apart. Water-in if the ground is dry.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ajuga, in Richard's garden.Ajuga, in Richard's garden. (Image: Richard Wright.)

Isle of Wight County Press: Saxifrage.Saxifrage. (Image: Pixabay.)

Another especially pleasing miniature, this time in the rockery, is the so-called cushion plant, saxifrage.

At this time of year, the moss-like cushion pushes up small spikes bearing red or pink flowers.

Saxifrages are a brilliant spring flowering plant, perfect for rock gardens, gravel gardens or for growing in wall crevices.

They are also useful for an early splash of colour in the front of garden borders or in patio planters and window boxes.

Saxifrages do best in well drained soil in a sunny position, but will also do well in partial shade.

Ajuga is good as ground cover. It can be invasive but provides a splash of vivid blue right now.

It’s not as diminutive as the others - and best placed at the back of a rockery – but is just as beautiful.