Sunday 1 April 2012

Heritage daffodils in Shropshire

Old daffodils at Acton Burnell Church

Part of the group at Gredington.
 I've spent the weekend in Shropshire as part of a group looking at old-fashioned or heritage daffodils, organised and marshalled by the redoubtable Margaret Owen as a fundraiser for St Mary's Church, Acton Burnell. Many of us greatly prefer the charm and simplicity of wild and early hybrid daffodils, so the opportunity to spend time with like-minded enthusiasts and visit some great sites to see them en masse was too good to miss. We visited a number of churchyards and private gardens where there are good spreads of such daffodils, planted probably at least a century ago, and prowled about looking at the cultivars and seedlings present. The great frustration with the old daffodils is that it is very difficult to identify them with any degree of certainty, and even experts are reluctant to put their neck out and suggest a name. This is because the original descriptions were often poor and insufficiently diagnostic, while contemporary illustrations are often exaggerated as line drawings, or indistinct as photographs and thus of little use. This is further bedevilled by the difference in flower size and quality between those from well-grown bulbs and those that have not been transplanted for decades. In consequence we didn't learn the names of very many, but it was a huge pleasure to see them and the company was excellent.

'Will Scarlett' - the first of the expensive daffodils; three bulbs sold for £100 in about 1900, equivalent to about about £8440 now (UK retail price index)

A very pretty but sadly unrecognised cultivar.

Two well-known old cultivars: 'Sir Watkin' (front) and 'Emperor' (behind).

1 comment:

  1. Lots of old daffs in a garden near me. The house goes back to the 1800s. I'm planning to rescue some. One looks like Lucifer, one a poeticus type, a possible wild/native one and my favourite one that has lax outers that fall forward like pigs ears

    N Ireland


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