Kent Life|March 2020

As we remember the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, the daffodils he loved are celebrated in a festival at Hever Castle
Leigh Clapp

Seeing shimmering daffodils en masse is sure to lift your spirits as spring gets under way in the garden. These reliable bulbs pop up across the country in gardens and road verges and it’s a lovely thing to do to wrap up warm and go for a stroll among these iconic blooms.

There is great diversity in the shapes and colours of Narcissi, from the common yellows to pastel pinks and white, with single, double and split corona forms.

Dwarf varieties such as the ever-popular ‘Tête-à-tête’ look charming lining paths or in containers; at the other end of the scale are giants such as ‘Breck’s Colossal.’

I particularly love the subtle wild native daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus, which inspired Wordsworth’s famous poem.

I also like the white with orange-fringed centre of the dainty, scented pheasant’s eye, Narcissus poeticus, another old variety, one of the first to be cultivated, and ideal for naturalising.

It’s important to remember to take care, however, where you plant your daffodils so that they don’t cross-pollinate and threaten our native British daffodil.

English Heritage has mass planted native daffodils at some of their sites and is encouraging home gardeners to plant more native and historic cultivar bulbs, so they are well worth looking out for.

Older varieties also naturalise best, making them ideal for areas where you’d like to create large drifts in grass.


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March 2020