Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot in March
Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot
March wouldn’t be March without daffodils but, as time goes on, tastes change and I’ve become increasingly fussy about the ones I like, much preferring fluttery cream ones to large yellow trumpets that can jar in a rural setting. ‘Thalia’, an old white Victorian variety with slightly recurved outer petals, is always a favourite, as is the perfectly proportioned miniature ‘Elka’ (above), but there are many more in a similar vein to be enjoyed.
I journeyed to the West Highlands a while back to meet a couple whose obsession for old-fashioned narcissi has grown into a mail-order nursery business. At their croft overlooking Loch Ewe, Kate and Duncan Donald specialise in growing pre-1930 varieties, many of which they have collected and saved from old estates across the country. While lots of modern narcissi can be a bit stiff and starchy, the ones they grow are altogether daintier. Their distinctly vintage appeal comes from being more lax and natural in their growing habits: perfect attributes for fitting into a garden scene.
The couple’s aim is to get these old charmers back into circulation. After all, the fact that some of them have lasted for more than 100 years shows that they are good doers and deserve to be better known. And it is thanks to the dedicated efforts of plantspeople like Kate and Duncan that the pool of plants available for gardeners to draw from these days is all the richer (01445 781717; croft16daffodils.co.uk).