This month our gardening correspondent Tim Sykes of Gardenproud embraces all that the start of spring has to offer in the garden…
We have reached that time of year. The daffs are out and those lucky enough to have a swathe in their garden will be rewarded with a fantastic display.
The rest of us can be assured of similar vistas with the many stunning opportunities we have in Kent and East Sussex to enjoy this early spring flower. In my very own village of Matfield we are treated to the ‘golden welcome back home’ as the annual Narcissi show lines the banks of the village pond.
Condé Nast Traveller listed the orchard at Sissinghurst Castle among its prettiest daffodil fields in the UK along with the wonderful display around the moat at Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst; the fields of gold erupting in the orchards at Ightham Moat near Sevenoaks, and the sight to behold that is the annual daffodil display at Nymans, Sussex.
These are just a few of the daffodil-infused attractions we have close to hand and I’m sure you all treasure your own memories of these very special flowers planted elsewhere too.
Many authors have been inspired, including William Wordsworth:-
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of dancing daffodils;
Along the lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.”
Evocative stuff, eh? Well you can create your own kind of visual poetry in your very own garden by planning a display of daffodils for 2024. Or why not enhance your terrace this year with some stunning planters and pots featuring these beauties?
There are whole host of varieties you can chose from. In fact there are 40-200 different species and over 32,000 cultivars registered. To help guide us through this myriad of choices the good old RHS have developed a classification of 13 different types of daffodils. To find out more visit: www.rhs.org.uk/ plants/pdfs/plant-registration-forms/daffhortclass.pdf
In the UK the most popular choices include, King Alfred: a yellow variety that is almost guaranteed to succeed and multiply each year. Early Bride: a white flower head and yellow trumpet distinguish this popular choice and Camelot: a pretty yellow flared flower and deep yellow cup with a serrated rim give this variety its signature.
For me the prettiest varieties include: Tête-à-Tête, a delicate flower if ever there was one and a dwarf variety that looks the business in pots and planters; Sailboat, the white outer petals of these beauties are swept back as if in the wind and the central trumpet changes from bright yellow to cream with age. And lastly Thalia which is one of the oldest known hybrids this pretty white Narcissus grows to about 35cm.
Most unusual is Rip Van Winkle – a dwarf variety with double yellow flowers that form a spikey star-like shape. It’s amazing as a companion to other taller options, or bunched into courtyard pots.
Narcissus Spoirot is a white petticoat daffodil and its dainty flower heads create a real talking point!
Key suppliers to look out for when daffodil planning include:
Sarah Raven www.sarahraven.com
Ashridge Nurseries www.ashridgetrees.co.uk
Farmer Gracy www.farmergracy.co.uk
Harts Nursery www.hartsnursery.co.uk
It’s also a good idea to check out The Daffodil Society at www.thedaffodilsociety.com
So, what are you waiting for? Go and visit a daff display this March or April and then start thinking about how you can pop some early spring planting ideas into your garden. What could make you happier?
For further information, or for some interesting ideas on how you can integrate daffodils into your planting scheme contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or visit www.gardenproud.co.uk
Things to do in the garden this March:
- Enjoy your daffodil displays
- Repair patches in lawns before mowing
- Mulch the borders if you haven’t already
- If the grass is ready make your first cut
- Prune roses
- If the ground is dry plant dormant dahlia tubers at the end of the month
- Sow hardy annuals into dry soil
- Plant Evergreen shrubs towards the end of the month