I thought that by now I had seen most kinds of plant failure. Bad or at least over-optimistic choice of planting site meaning it was too wet, or dry, or shady, or sunny, or windy. Over or under-watering the pot. Attack by rabbits, scale insects, aphids, or molluscs. Death by the short indignant tabby persistently rolling on it. Vine weevils. Starvation. Botrytis. Phytophera. Being crushed by falling trees, or crowded out by over-exuberant neighbours, or dug up by badgers. Unusual and extreme cold, or heat. Being trodden on. Trouble at the roots and trouble on top. Normally I have some idea what went wrong.
A small pot of daffodils I had by the front door has stumped me. They are the variety 'Minnow', very dainty and very pretty with several little, open cupped, pale yellow flowers on each little stalk. I planted ten in a pot that looked as though it was in scale with the bulbs, grew them on under the protection of a cold frame all winter, and only brought them out into the open when the leaves were well advanced and they seemed firmly rooted in their pot. They sent up flower stems, and as the buds opened I moved the pot over to the front of the house.
All seemed well for about two days, then yesterday, quite suddenly, the whole display flopped, leaves and flower stems alike. I hadn't let them dry out. All the other pots of bulbs are absolutely fine. I gathered the leaves and stalks up and ran some string around the edge of the pot tied to florist's canes to support them. It didn't look great, and now the flowers are shriveling prematurely. I really have no idea why or what has gone wrong. In my quest to find out I even upended the pot and tipped the contents carefully into my hand so that I could look at the roots. They were white, and looked healthy. It has been very wet, but if they had rotted in their pot I'd have expected to see evidence.
I am stumped. Baffled. It has rained a great deal, and so my best guess is that their collapse is something to do with getting too wet, but why this one pot and no other is so badly affected beats me. And daffodils are normally so easy going. It's a pity. I like 'Minnow' and was looking forward to seeing them for more than two days. And while I am resigned to plants dying and things in the garden not going according to plan I would rather have some idea what went wrong.