On my way to the Priory, I sometimes drive through the handsome downland village of Glynde. And at this time of year, I often stop to admire a walled enclosure by the church.
The long-established planting of daffodils en masse …
… is terrific and something I am trying to emulate at work.
I’ve still got a long way to go as it is a very, very slow process. I have planted over two and half thousand daffodils at the Priory (and about fifteen different varieties) and every one has gone into turf. Some, such as these ‘Ice Follies’ are (in their third season) doing pretty well in establishing themselves.
It’s a pretty daffodil; white with a pale yellow trumpet.
‘February Gold,’ planted here in partial shade, on the east lawn, is also establishing itself well. (Photo taken in early March).
But daffs planted (goodness only knows how long ago), in the kidney beds, are putting on a better show.
The annual mulching of these beds obviously pleases them. Each year, I mean to lift and replant them all elsewhere in the garden. Once they have finished flowering, there is an awful lot of daffodil foliage hanging around – not a great look in a border. But I can’t quite bring myself to do it; they put on such a fine show. Perhaps this year I’ll lift them … and perhaps not.
In the foreground are three groups of ‘St Patrick’s Day.’
A pale butter yellow, this variety is also increasing year on year; again they seem to do better in partial shade.
Around the west pond, somebody went to quite some trouble, once-upon-a-time, to plant a ring of mixed daffodils. I’m afraid I don’t know the varieties and I won’t hazard a guess …
… but backlit with morning sunshine, the name doesn’t seem so terribly important, does it?
But I can’t like some of the ‘pre-me’ daffs. Double daffs are, in my opinion, the perfect example of gilding the lily; a ruination of all that is perfect and simple and right with the flower. Thankfully there are not too many of them, and while I wouldn’t pull them up (or stomp on them), I do throw them a disapproving glare as I walk past.
At the base of one of the big oaks, amongst some naturalised snowflakes, is a more welcome resident, though sadly it produced only one flower stem this year. Again, as it pre-dates my time I can’t tell you the variety name.
So, we have plenty of beauty in the Priory gardens at the moment but there is also a big disappointment – the meadow. I planted several hundred bulbs, of various varieties, here eighteen months ago and …
… while they flowered well last year (their first), this year there is barely a flower to be sniffed at. I am hoping that they are garnering their strength for the future, and will put on a better show in 2013. That has been my experience with other daff plantings that fail to perform in their second year.
Thankfully my favourite flower, the Snakeshead fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris), is going great guns in the meadow and there are hundreds of nodding heads; both in its usual chequerboard form and …
… the white.
Elsewhere, in exciting daffodil-breaking news, Narcissus ‘Cragford’ is flowering strongly …
… as is the lovely, dainty ‘Pipit’ …
… and my favourite daffodil; the coy, the modest, the exquisite, ‘Thalia.’
Three hundred of them on the east lawn haven’t started to clump yet, and each bulb is, mostly, only sending up a solitary flower. But when the flower is so charming, delicate and perfect, well, who cares? I can forgive it almost anything. And I may just have to plant several hundred more.