Daffodils

Daffodils 

There really aren’t many sights to beat the irrepressible daffodils that are bursting out all over the place.  Even a municipal roundabout looks better covered in daffs and somehow they seem to glow even brighter on dark rainy days.  Of course we all know about daffodils from William Wordsworth’s poem but did you know they merited their own society?

The Daffodil Society

In 1898 a specialist society was founded for everyone who with a passion for the Genus Narcissus (the botanical name for the humble daffodil).  They have the most wonderful information packed website (http://thedaffodilsociety.com/wordpress/) and are even on facebook!

Get out and enjoy Daffodils in the Wild

While daffodils have been cultivated and planted in towns and villages all over the British Isles, it is still possible to see our native daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus) in the wild.  The native plants are pale yellow in colour with small dainty flowers.  To see an area carpeted in these spring flowers, you need to head to one of the woods and meadows where they proliferate.   There are some impressive displays in various parts of the country from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire, the Lake District and Cumbria.  Many of these places organise public daffodil walks in March and April.  Several of the Wildlife Trusts manage nature reserves justly famous for their daffs and their website is a good source of local information.

There are two obvious places to see wild daffodils – in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of north west Gloucestershire and up in Cumbria where Wordsworth got his inspiration.  The Wordsworths were regular visitors to Ullswater in Cumbria where the sight of the wild daffodils inspired that poem.

In north west Gloucestershire, some of the best displays are at Dymock and one of the most famous daffodil walks is at Kempley around the ‘Golden Triangle’ area.  The Kempley Daffodil Walk is a 10 mile circular walk established by the Windcross Paths Group some twenty five years ago.

Farndale Daffodil Walk is a lovely way to experience the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  The walk is an easy stroll about 31/2 miles long and at its most impressive when the daffodils are in bloom.  For up to date information, see http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/farndale-daffodil-walk/

In Devon, the display at the reserve at Dunsford, set along the River Teign on the Western side of Dartmoor, was so popular with visitors who used to pick the flowers that they have had to put up a notice requesting that people leave the plants in situ.  Fortunately that seems to have done the trick and Dunsford is certainly worth a visit.

Closer to Home

Back on your own plot, if you are inspired by the glorious profusion of nodding yellow heads, try planting some bulbs in containers.  A cheery terracotta pot of dainty dwarf varieties will make your cast aluminium garden table zing and glazed planters or traditional wooden barrels make an ideal home for daffodils, providing a great way to get some benefit from your metal garden furniture before the summer.  Their cheery brightness will set off your metal garden furniture a treat!

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