You'd be daff-t not to

PUBLISHED: 12:20 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

Gardens wouldn't be the same without daffs

Gardens wouldn't be the same without daffs

THE cultivation of daffodils has come a long way since the poet William Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud" in the Lake District and admired the wild daffodils growing there. However, their flowers still symbolise the coming of spring which is why it

THE cultivation of daffodils has come a long way since the poet William Wordsworth "wandered lonely as a cloud" in the Lake District and admired the wild daffodils growing there. However, their flowers still symbolise the coming of spring which is why it seemed strange to be without these cheerful blooms until late last month as a result of the prolonged cold spell of weather. They had all emerged from the ground and showed buds, but remained in suspended animation until the temperature rose when they suddenly burst into flower. There are fashions in flowers as in everything else and at present dwarf daffodils with multi-flower heads such as tete-a-tete are particularly in demand. Compared with some of the other miniatures, these naturalise and multiply easily in gardens, suit containers and window boxes and look good in pots and baskets for indoor decoration. However, I believe it is important to plant daffodils which are in scale with their surroundings. For this reason miniature daffodils should not be planted in open grassy areas or traditional herbaceous borders where they look out of place and taller varieties look much more effective. Place the dwarf types in rockeries, containers and beneath trees and shrubs and they will look fine. Daffodils are normally planted in the autumn as dry bulbs and are best left undisturbed where they can naturalise and in time will form large clumps. If the space is needed they can be lifted after flowering and put in shallow trenches or boxes where their foliage is allowed to die down and when the bulbs have dried out they can be stored in a cool place for re-planting in the autumn. Where they are growing in grass it is important to mow round the daffodils for around six weeks to allow them to die down completely otherwise they will come up without flowering next year and will eventually disappear altogether. Their leaves do become unsightly, but it is worth tolerating this for the pleasure of daffodil flowers in future years.

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