Wordsworth’s favourite makes an early arrival

EARLY RISER: Daffodils can be in flower months before spring has sprung.

EARLY RISER: Daffodils can be in flower months before spring has sprung.

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I saw my first daffodil of 2016 some four weeks ago – before Christmas 2015. It and a few fellow bloomers, were sheltered from the worst of the weather, but the unseasonal temperatures had fooled it into thinking that spring had arrived. But that’s the beauty of spring bulbs – they don’t have to flower in spring. Any time from December till April seems to be fine for a daffodil.

And yet while just about everyone can identify a daffodil, the narcissus family are a complex lot. There are many forms and numerous varieties offering all sorts of shapes and sizes and colours, ranging from pure white to brilliant yellow.

The name daffodil is applied to those large-flowered trumpets with a single flower on each stem. Basically, there are 12 divisions – from trumpet daffodils of garden origin right though to split-corona daffodils and miscellaneous.

There is probably a daffodil to suit every site and situation; once planted in a decent, well-drained soil, they will need little attention for several years.

They normally start to flower from late January but the majority are at their best in March and early April. Once they have bloomed, leave their foliage to die down naturally. Chop down the leaves before they’ve finished dying, you’ll also be cutting off the daffodil’s food supply. Leave well alone for six weeks or so and then trim 
off the dead foliage.

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