Gardeners are mad, and that – of course – includes me.
This was brought home to me at 7.30 this morning, when I was outside in a dressing gown and gardening clogs shaking the excessive dew / rain / general wetness off my daffodils, persuading them to stand a little bit more upright and not flop onto the wet grass.
To me, this is perfectly normal. To my neighbour, dog walking in the lane, it isn’t. A pity, really, that the mist wasn’t a little thicker.
Saturday was lovely. Sunday, however, was vile, and there was more unpleasantness overnight. The mist hasn’t really lifted for over 24 hours. And my poor daffs are suffering.
Mind you, they are also looking rather wonderful. There’s a certain subtlety in weather like this which makes some of my more – um, robust – daffs look better than they do in bright sunlight, when they just look jolly. Not that there’s anything wrong with being jolly.
The smaller doubles, of which I have hundreds (I’m not responsible for this glorious abundance, just grateful; they were here before me), are gorgeous in all weathers. While I haven’t actually planted more of these, I think my meadow policy – enough with cutting the grass, already – has really helped them spread. That and splitting the clumps, of course.
Among the Big Yellows and the Delicate Doubles are some others. Most of my whites and narcissi flower later, but not these two. I think they were in an anonymous sack of mixed daffodil bulbs I was given as a present. Any idea what they are? Or indeed, what the doubles are?
In weather like this, I cut the ones which get broken or damaged. And I’m ashamed to admit it, but I keep a tally, adding in all the deadheading.
I’ve been heartened to discover that I’m not the only daff-count dingbat. In fact, I’m in the company of one of my gardening heroes, Christopher Lloyd. His mother paid her children to dead-head their daffodils:
‘It would have been immoral simply to have collected the dead heads, leaving the green stems (though it might, marginally, have been better for the bulbs). The whole stem had to be picked and we had to count how many we picked, being paid a penny a hundred for them. The habit of counting became ingrained, and I have never got over it.’
I’m not quite in that league – at a penny a hundred, I’d not be much better off (though inflation since CL’s childhood would make a difference to the rate). I found last year’s total – 1026. Not as good as 2009, which was 1502. And here’s my first contribution to this year’s cutting total, reminding me that it is sometimes sunny, even in Wales.
And, as I look out of the window now, the mist is getting thicker. I think it’s the Celtic Twilight (but it won’t stop me getting the spuds in).