Golden Glory
Gardens Illustrated|March 2017

The sheer magnitude and beauty of the daffodils in Felley Priory’s spring garden have been known to move grown men to tears.

Matthew Biggs

The garden at Felley Priory, overlooking a gently sloping valley and woodlands in north Nottinghamshire, is renowned as a garden for all seasons, but for many it’s the spring display in the Daffodil Orchard that is the crowning glory.

The property has been owned by the Chaworth-Musters family since 1822, and the current generation continues to enjoy and take an active interest in the development of the garden. However, it is thought that it was the Oakes family, who were tenants in the 1940s, who planted the first daffodils. “We know from old photographs that the daffodil orchard existed in 1946, long before the garden was developed in the mid-1970s by Mrs Maria Chaworth-Musters. She used her skills as an interior designer to lay out the garden in front of the house as it stands today, with its topiary hedges, herbaceous borders and vistas,” explains head gardener, Lindsey Ellis. “Many of the fruit trees in the daffodil orchard are ancient. We’ve lost a number of them over the years and are in the process of planting replacements using apples, such as ‘Katja’, known as Katy, and ‘Fiesta’. They have been chosen because we need cultivars that maintain the character of the orchard yet are of a manageable size, so they don’t inhibit the growth of the daffodils.”

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