Driving around England this last week, I’ve found the daffodils especially infuriating. Everywhere, even in relatively remote areas far from towns and villages, the roadsides are planted with daffodils. The trouble is that these daffodils, planted I’m sure by well-meaning local people, are so often large-flowered hybrids like ‘Dutch Master’. They just look so gross and out of place in these more or less natural situations.
If they’re going to plant daffodils, why not plant something less garish, something - dare I say it – like Britain’s native daffodils species, Narcissus pseudonarcissus? Seeing them in the grass at the Harcourt Arboretum a few miles outside Oxford, in the picture,reminds me how appropriate they look.
Pam Schwerdt and Sybil Kreutzberger, formerly Head Gardeners at the spectacular garden at Sissinghurst and my colleagues on the Royal Horticultural Society’s Herbaceous Plant Committee, have long complained about this habit of planting large flowered hybrid daffodils in more or less wild situations – they just look so unnatural! But their protests seem not to have yet sunk in.
So let me add my own encouragement: Please don’t plant large-flowered hybrid daffodils on roadsides, by farm gates, along hedgerows, and in other places populated by genuine wild flowers. If you want to plant daffodils, plant our own native wild species.