Ev­ery­thing you need to know to get the most from your plot in March

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - Words by paula mcwa­ters

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; croft16daf­

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