Daffodils at Hever

Neil Miller, head gardener at Hever Castle and Gardens is celebrating the start of spring and the delightful daffodils that mark the occasion…

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What do you think of when you see a kaleidoscope of spring bulbs in all their glory? The start of spring? Liquorice Allsorts?

Standing beside the Winter Garden at Hever, I can’t help but think of delicious Liquorice Allsorts as the heather, cyclamen, crocuses, just-finished snowdrops and daffodils vie for my attention.

Daffodils are a joyful sight for us gardeners, their dependability, tolerance to cold and diversity of cultivar go some way to explaining the popularity of this bulb which features in 80% of domestic gardens.

You may be surprised to know that there are roughly 27,000 cultivars, divided among the 13 divisions of classification, so the daffodil provides plenty of variety for gardeners, even if there’s not a great variation in colour! I may be old fashioned, but I think I prefer a yellow daffodil to a pink one like ‘rosy cloud’ or ‘Salo-me’.

Our gardening team love the daffodils here at Hever. We have an abundance of the golden flowers on the estate; blooming beside the banks of the double moat, bordering Half Moon Lawn, planted through Anne Boleyn’s Orchard, and the early Christmas daffodils hugging the walls of the castle itself.

When you say the name ‘narcissus’, most people will think of the myth of the boy who stared obsessively at his reflection in the water, however, in ‘floriography’ (the language of flowers) ‘narcissi’ has been associated with
‘female ambition’.

If floriography is right, then the narcissus family have found a perfect place to perform here at Hever – the childhood home of Anne Boleyn – a woman who it could be said had buckets of female ambition.

And, while daffodils for some signal the start of spring, the appearance of the daffodils this year has been a sign to the gardening team at Hever to ‘crack on’ in earnest as our first ever Tulip Celebration is just around the corner!

If you’re daffy about bulbs why not pop along to see the carpet of yellows in March and mark the end of April on your calendar to view our kaleidoscope of colour in the shape of the Tulip Celebration.

DAFF FACTS

  • Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, while ‘daffodil’ is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus.
  • Daffodils multiply in two ways: by  ‘bulb division’ where exact copies of the flower will result, and from seed where new, different flowers will result.
  • Daffodils come in all sizes from five inch blooms on two foot stems to half-inch flowers on two inch stems.
  • After blooming, let the daffodil plant rebuild its bulb for the next year. The leaves stay green while this is happening. When the leaves begin to yellow, then you can pick the leaves off but not before.
  • The daffodil is unlike other bulbs who can often dwindle and die after a few years, some daffodils have outlived their owners!

www.hevercastle.co.uk